Garry Thompson would start Glenn Whelan for Aston Villa's play-off final showdown against Derby

Aston Villa are one game away from reaching the Premier League with Derby County standing in their way.

BBC Sport pundit Garry Thompson has stated that he wouldn't start Conor Hourihane ahead of Glenn Whelan when Aston Villa take on Derby County in the Championship play-off final on Monday.

The former Villa striker stated that the more attack-minded Hourihane would 'leave the back door open', whilst Whelan does the 'unsung work' and 'plugs the gaps'.

During Villa's last encounter, Hourihane started the second leg tie against West Brom after he came off the bench to score at Villa Park in the first leg.

Speaking to BBC Radio West Midlands Football Phone-In (24/05/2019), Thompson explained why Whelan gets the nod ahead of Hourihane at Wembley.

"He [Whelan] plug gaps," Thompson told BBC Radio WM. "He'll do the unsung work, whereas Hourihane, his natural tendencies is to go forward and join in, so all of a sudden he can leave the back door open."

Dean Smith has a big decision to make in who he starts in the middle of the park because it could have a big bearing on what happens on the day.

Usually, Smith has gone with the player that has produced the goods for him and done the job the game before, which points towards Hourihane, but it won't be surprising to see Whelan in the starting XI.

Another area were Smith will be mulling over is the right flank. Albert Adomah and Andre Green have been the players who have struggled to cement their places on the right, with Green starting the last encounter.

SEE ALSO: Photo: £4.4m Aston Villa-bound star gushes tears after boyhood club's relegation The Villa academy product struggled to make an impact during the Albion game and once again it won't be a surprise to see the more experienced Adomah coming into the fold.