Aston Villa's Dean Smith says West Brom 'favourites' in Championship play-off semi-final
Watch Aston Villa against West Brom in the Championship play-off semi-final first leg on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, from midday
Last Updated: 11/05/19 11:52am
Dean Smith believes West Brom's "squad of Premier League players" means they are the favourites against Aston Villa in the Championship play-off semi-final.
Aston Villa have failed to win in either of their two meetings against their West Midlands rivals in the league this season and finished four points behind the Baggies in the table.
We have yet to beat them this season so for me I think they are the favourites and we are looking forward to spoiling their party.
Smith saw a 12-game unbeaten run - which included a club-record 10 successive wins - ended by champions Norwich last weekend and says their play-off opponents will start with the edge in the first leg at Villa Park on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
"I know there are several pundits out there saying that we will be the favourites, but West Brom have been above us all season," Smith said.
"They are the ones who came down from the Premier League last season.
"They have got a squad of Premier League players. We have yet to beat them this season so for me I think they are the favourites and we are looking forward to spoiling their party."
Villa secured their finish in the play-offs with a record-breaking victory against Millwall in April.
Smith has been open about his desire to lead Villa back to the Premier League for the first time in three years and laughed off the suggestion this is the biggest game between the two clubs.
"All we can concentrate on is ourselves. I have heard people talk already saying Villa think they are at Wembley already. Far from it," he said.
"We have only ever taken one game at a time. West Brom have been in the play-offs a lot longer than we have.
"But we are confident without being over-confident simply because of the run of form we are in and the belief that is within the camp at the moment."
Smith says West Brom's strike force of Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle are the main threats, but was keen to highlight the depth of influence he can call upon in his side.
"We have got a lot of belief in the group of players that we have got. We are not a one-man team as people can see," he said.
"It is all about the team here. We have got seven or eight individuals who can go and change a game.
"The run we have been on has been totally because it has been a team performance."