Aston Villa have confirmed that Glenn Whelan is ‘set to be available’ for this afternoon’s meeting with Ipswich Town. The 35-year-old had missed Villa’s 2-2 draw with Hull City through injury, but he’s expected to return in time to face the Tractor Boys.
Whelan had played in 10 consecutive Championship games under Dean Smith and could be in contention to start against Ipswich. The Irish midfielder has made 17 league appearances this season, scoring and creating three goals and averaging a tackle or interception every 34 minutes.
Smith has Birkir Bjarnason, John McGinn, Conor Hourihane and the returning Mile Jedinak to choose from, but it’s likely that McGinn and Whelan will get the nod due to Bjarnason’s poor form of late and Jedinak’s lack of match fitness. Hourihane should start in the central playmaker role.
Villa desperately need a result as their hopes of a playoff place are diminishing week by week. Smith’s men have picked up just one league win in their last eight games and find themselves 13th in the Championship table with 39 points from 28 games – seven places and seven points off the top-six.