Will selling Nathan Baker to Bristol City still haunt Aston Villa?

Manager of Aston Villa Steve Bruce during the pre season friendly match between Aston Villa and Watford  at Villa Park on July 29, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

Aston Villa are rising up the Championship table as Bristol City stutter, but the decision to send Nathan Baker to Ashton Gate still seems strange.

Nathan Baker of Villa in action during the pre- season friendly between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on July 30, 2016 in Birmingham, England.

Not so long ago, Aston Villa’s decision to sell Nathan Baker to Bristol City for about £3.9 million looked like a mistake.

Steve Bruce’s Villa were scrapping on the outskirts of the play-offs while the Robins were flying high and seemingly in with a genuine, if unexpected, chance of automatic promotion.

Flash forward to mid-February, however, and things have changed. Villa have risen to second place after a remarkable run of seven straight league wins.

Nathan Baker of Aston Villa is closed down by Sam Gallagher of Blackburn Rovers during the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa at Ewood Park on April 29,...

Bristol City, meanwhile, have dropped to sixth and are now just three points clear of Preston North End. And Baker’s form has somewhat reflected that of his club of late.

He endured a horror show of an evening as his former club thrashed his current employers 5-0 at Villa Park on New Year’s Day. And, after being sent off in a recent clash with QPR, Baker hasn’t appeared since due to suspension.

In the meantime, Villa’s defence looks like arguably the Championship’s best right now. They have kept five clean sheets in their last seven games with John Terry and James Chester (below) forming one of the most formidable partnerships outside of the Premier League.

Villa player James Chester in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on September 12, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

But do not let this fool you; Villa’s decision to sell their academy graduate Baker to a play-off rival still seems a little odd; especially when you consider that he has been superb all season barring a couple of dodgy displays since the turn of the year.

Baker has been one of the best players in the league’s surprise package while Villa are lacking a little depth at centre-back.

There is not much for Villa fans to complain about right now,but the decision to discard Baker could still come back to haunt them eventually.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch