Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith has had his say on Sheffield United getting relegated this season.
Villa travel to Bramall Lane in the Premier League on Wednesday evening.
They face a Blades side bottom of the table, 15 points from safety, and having lost 21 of their 26 league games so far.
It’s something of a role reversal from last term, when the two teams were newly promoted.
United won many of plaudits as they steered clear of the relegation zone from the off and eventually finished ninth. It was their highest position since 1992.
As for the Villans, they only avoided the drop on the final day of the campaign.
Yet this time around they themselves are ninth going into their trip to South Yorkshire.
Will Sheffield United be relegated?
While his side achieved it in 2019/20, Smith isn’t confident the Blades will repeat their survival feat 12 months on.
However, the 49-year-old says United should stick with Chris Wilder as manager. Even if they are relegated to the Championship.
“Without a shadow,” Smith said in his pre-match press conference. “Chris knows the club really, really well.
“They’re still fighting. They won’t believe they’re down yet, but it’s looking hard for them.
“They’ve had some key players out. Dean Henderson, the goalkeeper, left. Jack O’Connell has been out most of the season. So they’ve lost some key players at key times.
“Having been through that ourselves last year losing John McGinn, Wesley, and Tom Heaton, it’s very difficult to be really good competitors in this league when you’ve lost key players.”
The last time these two teams met at Villa Park in the second game of the season, the hosts won 1-0.
Yet there was some controversy as John Egan was sent off. John Lundstram also had a penalty saved as Ezri Konsa scored the winner for the Birmingham side.