Date: 30th November 2018 at 11:39am
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Free agent James Collins has been training with former club Aston Villa in the hopes of earning a contract with the Championship club, and a decision from manager Dean Smith is now imminent.

As reported by the Birmingham Mail, Smith is set to make a decision on a contract for Collins in the next two days after the veteran centre-back took part in a friendly against Yeovil last week.

As quoted by the regional outlet, Smith said: “He is still here training with us. He played a game last week, against Yeovil. He is getting minutes and getting closer to me making a decision about him.

“I’ll probably do it in the next couple of days and decide where we’re going with him.”

While it is understandable that Smith wants to clarify the situation as soon as possible with regards to the Wales international, it would actually be best for the club if he delayed the decision.

The season is now entering into December, and with the January transfer window now just a month away, opportunities are now coming for Villa to delve into the market.

January will likely bring with it the chance to sign centre-backs of higher quality than Collins, although financing may be an issue with Villa known to be in breach of Financial Fair Play regulations at the moment.

By delaying the decision on Collins, Smith will give himself the best chance of finding the player who is the best fit for his squad, whether that be the 35-year-old or someone else.

Obviously Collins will want a decision made as soon as possible, but there is surely a solution that could be worked out between club and player to extend his trial period.

Making a decision now and either hiring him, meaning space on the wage bill is taken up, or letting him go, meaning they may not be able to get a centre-back of his calibre in January, could be a mistake.

A delayed conclusion is the clear choice for Smith here, and he must slam down on the brakes on making that decision within the next 48 hours.