A couple of weeks ago, Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn would have been one of the first names on Dean Smith’s teamsheet, but that has pretty much changed within one game.

Over the weekend, Villa, without the suspended McGinn, thumped Derby County 4-0 on home soil with the returning Jack Grealish inspiring his side to three points.

On the day, Conor Hourihane netted a brace and the more defensive-minded Glenn Whelan put in arguably his best performance of the campaign.

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Cue the Second City derby against Birmingham City taking place this Sunday.

Smith has a big decision to make at the weekend because McGinn has been one of his best players prior to his suspension, but will he get back into the starting XI for the St Andrew’s clash?

There is no doubt that Grealish will start. Added with that, Hourihane surely can’t miss out after his brace against the Rams. Therefore, that leaves the final spot between Whelan and McGinn.

During the reverse fixture, when Villa won 4-2, McGinn was absent through injury and Whelan struggled in the opening half hour of that match.

Considering the Blues players have never come up against McGinn, starting him on Sunday would provide that extra advantage.

Plus, they will target and try to aggressively press whoever plays in that number six role and either Whelan or Hourihane will be deploying that position.

Therefore, it should be seen as who do Villa fans think can cope better if they are being pressed in that area. Whelan or Hourihane? Plus, who would the Blues players prefer pres and come up against?

Either way, the clash is set to be an absolute cracker.

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