Barry Bannan explains why Nathan Baker could enjoy massive Aston Villa season

Swansea's Wilfried Bony and Aston Villa's Nathan Baker in action

The defender impressed the Sheffield Wednesday star while on loan at Bristol City last year.

Swansea's Wilfried Bony and Aston Villa's Nathan Baker in actionWilfried Bony and Aston Villa's Nathan Baker in action

Former Aston Villa midfielder and current Sheffield Wednesday star Barry Bannan has told the Villa website that he thinks his former teammate Nathan Baker could be a hugely important player for Roberto Di Matteo this season.

The Italian will put forward a side to face last season's defeated playoff finalists this weekend, and Scot Bannan wouldn't be surprised to see Baker involved, having been impressed with him last season at Bristol City.

“I remember playing against Bakes last year when he was at Bristol City," Bannan is quoted as telling the Villa website. "He did very well - as I always knew he would.

Hull City's Tom Huddlestone in action with Sheffield Wednesday's Barry BannanHull City's Tom Huddlestone in action with Sheffield Wednesday's Barry Bannan

“With Villa now in the Championship, Bakes has got experience in the league.

“He did really well when he went down there and that experience will stand Villa in really good stead this season as they push for promotion. I think Bakes will have a really big season at Villa.”

Former England Under 21 defender Baker failed to make any league appearances for Villa last season, instead spending the campaign the Robins secure Championship status for a second successive season, but it is clear his former teammate thinks he could be a massive influence at Villa Park this season.

West Ham's Matt Jarvis (R) shoots at goal under the challenge of Aston Villa's Nathan BakerMatt Jarvis (R) shoots at goal under the challenge of Aston Villa's Nathan Baker

The 25-year-old appeared 38 times for Bristol City, and as Bannan stated, his experience in the division could help out a number of the Villa squad who have never featured outside of the top flight.

Having been at Villa since he was a 13-year-old, there are few at the club who have such a long-standing relationship with the Lions as Baker. And Bannan came through the age groups at the same time as the centre back, being just a year older.

The midfielder himself would certainly be hoping his old club do well this season, while also pushing Wednesday into going one better than last season and seeing them make their own return to the Premier League after far too long.

Di Matteo would do well to utilise players like Baker to ensure it is not the same story for Villa.

New manager Roberto Di Matteo poses after the press conferenceNew manager Roberto Di Matteo poses after the press conference

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