If Aston Villa earn promotion to the Premier League they will come up against Midland rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers next season.
Matt Murray has praised Dean Smith for persuading Tammy Abraham to stay at Wolves amid rumoured interest from Midland rivals Wolves in January.
As reported by BBC Sport, Chelsea loanee Abraham rejected the chance to join Nuno Espirito Santo’s side during the winter transfer window and instead stay at Villa Park.
That move has now proven to be a masterstroke because he has helped his team to the play-off final despite their season looking down and out only a few months ago.
Speaking to Kick Off on TalkSport (14/05/2019), former Wolves goalkeeper Murray praised Smith for the manner in which he has managed his players during the tough periods since his arrival.
“You have to credit Dean Smith’s man management as well,” Murray told TalkSport. “There was a time when I thought Tammy Abraham was going to go to Wolves or somewhere else.
“He managed to convince him to stay. I’m not sure how and then he’s got his head back on it and he’s doing really, really well. And the players he has brought in. They have been excellent for him.”
During his time at Villa, Abraham has netted 26 goals [transfermarkt], including scoring from the spot-kick as they beat West Brom over two-legs in the play-off semi-finals.
He could yet add to that tally because Villa will be now preparing for a trip to Wembley at the end of this month after reaching the play-off final for the second season running.
If Abraham can show the form he showcased during the regular season then it’ll increase Villa’s chances of making a return to the top-flight as they take on Derby County at Wembley.