Date: 18th February 2019 at 6:00am
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Dean Smith revealed that Jack Grealish had an opportunity to be on the bench against West Bromwich Albion but was forced to leave him out of the squad due to the doctor’s “fitness program”. Smith said his idea was “knocked back” by medical staff, so Grealish may not have to wait until the trip to face Stoke City on February 23.

Smith said in a press conference before Saturday’s meeting with West Brom: “I’ve fired a few balls at him. He’s been doing a little running as well to build up his fitness. I told him he could pull out of one and be on the bench (against West Bromwich Albion) which he duly accepted. Unfortunately, the doctor knocked back and he had to continue with his fitness program rather than be on my bench.”

Grealish has been out of action with a shin injury for three months. His last outing for Villa was against West Brom on December 7. He helped his side to a 2-2 draw but didn’t last the full 90 minutes after taking one too many hits to the shin. He was substituted with only minutes remaining and Villa haven’t managed to cope in his absence.

The Midlands club are currently 10th in the Championship and seven points adrift of the playoffs. They’ve now lost back-to-back games and have picked up just one win in their last nine. Since Grealish has been absent through injury, Villa have managed only two league victories. He should be back against Stoke, however, so Smith will be confident of getting a result, by hook or by crook.

Crippy Cooke’s previous article

‘Shocking’ – some fans lambast Aston Villa midfielder after West Brom defeat

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