Villa Sale Still on Below
Barkley Injury News
As MOMS had previously reported, the word on Ross Barkley was he was mooted for a return around the time of Villa’s away trip to Wolves on 12th December. Dean Smith today confirmed the midfielder’s hamstring wasn’t as bad as it could been, and that the Wolves game or Burnley, a few days later on the 17th, were realistic return dates.
“Ross obviously got a hamstring injury against Brighton so he’s going to be out for 2-3 weeks,” confirmed Smith, in the build-up to the trip to West Ham.
“It’s not as bad as what we first feared. He should be back in 2-3 weeks, he’s done a week already, obviously.”
Smith is concerned that after finding a good shape to his team – with Barkley also aiding and freeing up Jack Grealish to be more effective – he doesn’t have a like-for-like replacement.
“We signed Ross because he’s a quality player and if you have quality players come out of your team it’s going to affect you a little bit.
“Plus we’ve got nobody similar to Ross in terms of how he plays. So it will be a loss.”
While Smith elected to bring on Bertrand Traoré against Brighton for Barkley, after long deliberation on the touchline with his coaches, the Villa Head Coach hinted that Conor Hourihane maybe given the nod this time, after hat-tipping the Irishman’s earlier contribution this season.
“We won our first two games without Ross as well, so we certainly haven’t lost sight of that,” added Smith.
Since starting the first two games of the season for Villa, Hourihane has since played only 15 minutes of football for Villa, coming on as a sub against Brighton. The good news for Villa though, in terms of Hourihane’s match sharpness, is he has five games for Ireland in the gap of his Villa action.
Other Injury News
Meanwhile, Smith stated that he hoped to see Keinan Davis back on the training pitch on Sunday, before the Hammer’s clash. He also confirmed that although Kourtney Hause and Frederci Guilbert were on the road to recovery, the West Ham game had come too soon for them.