Dean Smith revealed in his pre-match press conference that James Chester isn’t close to returning and “had an injection” on Wednesday to “help settle the swelling” in his knee. The 30-year-old has been out of action since captaining the side to victory over Ipswich Town on January 26, missing their last three games against Reading, Sheffield United and Brentford.
Incidentally, Chester’s last appearance was the last time Villa won a league game. The Welsh international has had problems with his knee this season but had continued to play games while not 100% fit. He risked exacerbating the injury but has now been granted the time to full recover, as Villa have plenty of defensive recruits who can step in.
Smith said: “James Chester had an injection on his knee on Wednesday to help settle the swelling. That’s a more long-term one. We need to get him ready for the run-in for us and we’ve bought reinforcements in as defensive cover.” Chester has made 28 Championship appearances this season. Tommy Elphick has partnered Tyrone Mings at the back while he’s been away in recent weeks.
Villa’s defence has been a problem throughout the campaign, regardless of personnel. The Midlands outfit have conceded 50 goals in 32 games – only Ipswich Town (55) and Rotherham United (51) have shipped more. They’ll be desperate to shut out West Brom on Saturday afternoon, but it won’t be an easy task.