It’s a credit to just how consistent Alan Hutton has been at Aston Villa this season that both of his right-back rivals could leave on loan during the January transfer window.
According to the Birmingham Mail, Villa may be willing to let both James Bree and Ritchie De Laet leave the club on a temporary basis after struggling for opportunities this season as manager Steve Bruce aims to trim the fat from his squad.
29-year-old De Laet missed the majority of last season through injury and has only started one Championship game so far in 2017/18. The former Manchester United and Leicester City speedster has made another three league appearances off the bench.
Youngster Bree has also started just once for Villa this season, coming in the goalless draw with Brentford back in September.
The 20-year-old arrived at Villa Park from Barnsley amid high expectations in January but is yet to show why he was once seen as The Tykes’ most promising academy graduate since a certain John Stones.
Since Bree moved to Villa almost a year ago, Scotland international right-back Hutton has got his career back on track with a series of solid performances in Bruce’s back four. And it seems that the experienced former Rangers man is set to keep his place until the end of the season.
But it remains to be seen whether Villa will let both Bree and De Laet leave at the same time – or whether it is a case or one or the other.