Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, the news we have all been patiently anticipating is finally upon us. Jack Grealish, the best player in the league according to Dean Smith, is back. And to make it that much sweeter, he is available for selection this weekend.
The midfielder has been out with a shin injury for three months now. His absence has proven to be a big loss for the Claret and Blue men. Smith openly admitted in his interview yesterday that the results have dropped off since Grealish picked up his injury. However, he did say that he didn’t believe it was the sole reason behind the poor form.
He put that down to other star men being injured too. Since Jack picked up his injury both Axel Tuanzebe and James Chester have been missing also. Other players like Henri Lansbury, Neil Taylor and now Alan Hutton have also had layoffs.
It is quite unlikely that Grealish will start the game. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if he only featured for a short spell from the bench. Deano won’t want to risk throwing him in too early. Especially with a local derby just weeks away.
Saying that he may feel ready to start after the hard work the medical team have put him through in recent weeks. It could be the reason why he didn’t come back a few weeks ago, as many expected. The match fitness is bound to play a part in Smith’s thoughts though.
There are some sections of the faithful who still believe we have a chance of a late play-off bid. In order to even contemplate this, we need him back to his best and fast. I personally believe its too little too late. The teams in and around us haven’t dropped many points of late and the gap isn’t getting smaller. Although Villa hasn’t lost many, we have drawn far to many.
In other news, Smith also updated us on Alan Hutton’s injury. Hutton limped off in the draw against Stoke last weekend. First thoughts suggested that the Scotsman would be ruled out for the rest of the season.
Luckily, the injury isn’t as bad as first feared. It is expected that the right-back will be missing for ‘a number of weeks’ and should return before the season is over.
For the meantime, I would expect Ahmed Elmohamady to drop into his position. Especially with no other right back options at the club. Frederick Guilbert, Ritchie De Laet and James Bree are all out on loan. Who would you play at right back during Hutton’s absence? Have your say in the comments section below.