Dean Smith addresses concerns about Danny Ings & Ollie Watkins partnership

There have been questions raised over the last week around the partnership of Danny Ings & Ollie Watkins

When Danny Ings’ signing was announced out of the blue back in the summer, it had fans buzzing.

A proven Premier League goalscorer to partner with the ever-improving Ollie Watkins.

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And yet now, eight games in and people are frustrated. Both players have scored so far this season - Ings has three in eight and Watkins one in six but it’s the partnership or lack-of one that is leaving some fans worried.

Manager Dean Smith however, seems far from it.

“We’ve played eight games so far and they didn’t play together for the first three because Ollie Watkins was injured,” Smith explained.

“So they’ve only been together for five games and they’ve both scored in the last two games.

“We’ve ended up with defeats but if my two centre-forwards are scoring in every game then we’re more likely to win games than we are likely to lose.

“I think their relationship in terms of combination play will come but they are both goalscorers and they both know they can score in this league and as I say, they’ve both scored in the last two games so if that trend continues I’ll be a very happy man.”

The Villa manager either held a very strong poker face or he meant every word that he said and has faith that both can do the business when on the field together.

Good news, too, is that with numerous players returning including Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore, it allows Smith not only more weapons in his arsenal (pardon the pun) but also allows for the potential of different formations which may suit both Ings and Watkins better.

“We went to a system that we felt we needed to against Chelsea,” he added.

“As you say, with players out at the time or not up to full fitness and it’s a system that seems to have suited us.

“With the exception of probably the Tottenham game where I don’t think we played well, I think our performances have been good.

“Probably our best performance was the 3-0 defeat at Chelsea where it could have been so much more but you know, on the whole, I want players fit. I want my players that are in the first eleven to play well enough to hold on to the shirt and I want the other ones pushing them so it gives me the option that I want.”