As we head into a tricky match at Villa Park against Fulham, who boast the league’s second best away record, here’s a few news snippets of the last 24 hours…
While the Keinan Davis contract talks protract, Villa confirmed that Callum O’Hare has signed a new two-year contract with the club.
The 19-year-old attacking midfielder schemer made his full Villa debut at Colchester United in the Carabao Cup in August, and kept his place in the League Cup teams to play three games in total, adding to his two substitute appearances in the League.
“He’s a breath of fresh air,” said Steve Bruce, in previously describing O’Hare.
“He has the heart the size of a lion. He’s not massive stature-wise but, by god, he’s a trier.”
O’Hare has certainly got the ability to make an impression at this level, but will face increasing competition for playing minutes with Jack Grealish returning to fitness.
The trio of Jack Grealish, Henri Lansbury and Mile Jedinak have all been involved in first team training this week, but will be looking at the Blues game or beyond for a possible first team return.
Grealish played an hour in a U-23’s game and is expected to play again against Reading U-23’s on Monday, with Lansbury expecting to also get an outing to get him match fit.
Jedinak’s progress, while steady, seems unlikely to get him ready in time for the derby.
While Andre Green will be a long-term absentee, don’t be surprised if Gabby Agbonlahor suddenly makes a miraculous recovery from his knock to play and score at St Andrews.
Hutton to Keep Role
Steve Bruce seemed more than happy with Alan Hutton’s performance for Villa against Wolves, and heaped praise on the right-back playing left-back.
The Villa boss agreed with many Villa fans by calling him “arguably our best player” against Wolves.
“You can never write off Alan Hutton,” said Bruce, at the pre-Fulham press conference.
“He trains every day as if it’s his last… and is disappointed he’s not playing more regularly.”
Scouts North of the Border
The rumour mill suggests that Villa sent scouts to watch the 23-year-old Hibernian midfielder John McGinn in a recent game against Aberdeen.
Forest boss Mark Warburton has haboured a long-term interest in the Scotland international with repeated bids for the midfielder, the last of which, believed to be around £2m, was turned down in the summer.
It’s uncertain how firm Villa’s interest is considering the abundance of midfielders at Villa Park at the moment, but McGinn is meant to be highly rated north of the border with several pundits talking up his chances of eventually playing in the English Premier League.