Aston Villa boss Dean Smith
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Smith discusses historic rivalry between Aston Villa and West Brom

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has insisted that this evening’s derby match between Midlands rivals West Brom and Aston Villa is a huge fixture.

It is the first time either side have played each other since they both have been relegated from the Premier League, and with both sides in good form, there is a greater sense of excitement around this evening’s fixture.

Villa boss Smith has not downplayed its importance and reckons tonights game has the making of an epic tussle between the two Midlands giants.

“It’s a big game – we’ve not played each other, certainly in this league, for a while.’’ Smith told his pre-match press conference.

“I grew up supporting Aston Villa in the 1980s and it meant a lot back then.

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“It’s not been so big in recent years due to the division we’ve been playing in, while the Villa-Blues derby has remerged.

“There’s been some great games between ourselves and Albion, though – especially when Ron Atkinson was in charge of them in the early 80s.

“The fact we’re both going for promotion I think adds extra spice on Friday. This is our third season and Albion’s first after a period of success in the Premier League.

“They remain one of the favourites. We’re the two top goalscorer in the division. It makes for a great match on Friday.”

The two sides face off this evening at the Hawthorns, as Villa travel to take on the Baggies in the Championship.

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