Date: 26th February 2019 at 6:30pm
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Dean Smith says Tom Carroll is “back training” and has put himself “into contention” of facing Derby on March 2. The Aston Villa midfielder has been out of action since February 2 and could make his long-awaited return next Saturday.

Smith said in his latest Aston Villa press conference: “Tom’s back training with us fully. He did a little bit on Friday and he started the week with us. So (he’s) putting (himself) back into contention for Saturday now. It’s really good news (that) some players are coming back into the squad.”

Carroll has only made one appearance since joining Villa on loan from Swansea City after picking up another hip injury. Before his move to the Midlands, the 26-year-old had spent three months on the treatment table and his latest setback has seen him absent for a month.

Jack Grealish is expected back against Derby and Carroll’s return would be the icing on the cake. Grealish could be handed a start if Smith believes he’s ready, but Carroll would likely be on the bench as Conor Hourihane has recently impressed in midfield.

Villa desperately need a result when Derby come to town over the weekend. They currently sit 11th in the Championship with 45 points from 34 games this season and haven’t won in their last five outings. They’re eight points adrift of the playoffs with 12 matches remaining.

Crippy Cooke’s previous article

Official: Dean Smith confirms which Aston Villa player will be ‘out for a number of weeks’

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