Date: 21st December 2018 at 10:03am
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Jack Grealish is unlikely to make the Aston Villa squad for Sunday’s clash with Leeds United, with Birmingham Live saying he ‘needs extra time’ before returning to the first-team. The midfielder has been out of action with a shin injury that saw him hooked off after 87 minutes against West Bromwich Albion on December 7 and subsequently miss last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Stoke City.

Grealish’s absence is a big blow to Villa as he’d scored and created five goals in six Championship games prior to his injury. The Midlands outfit have two games left of 2018 – Leeds (home) on December 23, Swansea City (away) on December 26 and Preston North End (away) on December 29. There could be a chance he’ll return before the year comes a close.

In his stead, Dean Smith could leave his midfield trio of Conor Hourihane, John McGinn and Glenn Whelan unchanged. Henri Lansbury will have had a chance to feature if he wasn’t recovering from injury himself.

Leeds will be a difficult opponent on Sunday, with Marcelo Bielsa’s men currently top of the Championship table ahead of the meeting, so Villa will want more protection to their backline. McGinn and Whelan are sure to start as a result.

Crippy Cooke’s previous article

Aston Villa could sign English international, club were ‘open to offers’ in June – opinion

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