Dean Smith challenges Tammy Abraham to fire Aston Villa into the Premier League
Dean Smith has challenged Tammy Abraham to blast Villa into the Premier League and say goodbye to the Championship for good.
The on-loan Chelsea striker, wanted by Wolves, now looks likely to stay with Villa for the rest of the season and will start tomorrow’s clash at Wigan, aiming to increase his tally of 16 goals in just 20 appearances this term.
Abraham previously plundered 23 league goals for Bristol City during the 2016/17 campaign and Smith believes the coming months offer the 21-year-old the chance to prove his top-flight pedigree.
He said: “The way I look at it, Tammy’s got 16 goals for us and there are still 20 games to go.
“If he goes and scores another 10, then he’s never playing in the Championship again. He’s a Premier League player, who’s here playing for us. We’re hoping he’ll score the goals to take us to the Premier League.”
Smith spoke to Abraham after he returned to training on Tuesday, having been granted Monday off to visit relatives, with the striker telling the head coach he is happy at Villa.
Wolves have not yet given up hope of landing him on loan – a recall option in his agreement with Villa is not due to expire until later next week.
But for Smith the matter is now closed and he is confident Abraham has not been unsettled by the off-field talk.
He said: “As far as I’m concerned, yes (he’s here for the rest of the season). Though I thought that was the case before January started.
“I’m not party to whether representatives of his are trying to get him to another club or not. I only speak to Tammy about what this club is doing for his development and what he’s doing for the team.
“His state of mind has always been OK - this speculation has been going on for two weeks and he’s scored two or three goals in that time.
“I’ve not seen him being unsettled. He’s a sensible kid and that’s half the battle.”
Smith continued: “I asked Tammy if he was looking to go elsewhere and he reiterated to me that he was happy being here.
“He likes the atmosphere, he’s enjoying scoring goals, nothing more was said to him.
“It’s been messy from the outside. But I couldn’t see him going anywhere and I said that from the start, I’d have been amazed if he had gone anywhere. I’ve told Tammy that before.
“Everyone knew there was a release clause.
“My understanding was that would only be triggered if Chelsea wanted to bring him back to play for them. They had no intention of selling him.
"I didn’t think they’d pull him back to send him out on loan again - he’s been out three times on loan already.”