Date: 22nd November 2018 at 3:15pm
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Dean Smith says there’s a chance John McGinn could return in time to face Birmingham City on Sunday. The Aston Villa midfielder picked up a calf injury which forced him to withdraw from international duty and now faces a race to be fit for the weekend.

McGinn has missed only one game in the Championship since his summer move from Hibernian and has been a signing of the season contender. The Scotland midfielder would be a big loss for Birmingham, so Smith is taking his time before ruling him out. He will assess McGinn on Friday and Saturday before making a decision on whether he will feature in the Second City derby.

The Villa boss said to the club’s official website: “It’s still a bit early for McGinn to be fully assessed. I’m hopeful (he) will be ok. We’ll be leaving it late to make a decision, but (he) won’t have lost any fitness. McGinn has featured in a lot of games for us. (He’s a) naturally fit player, but I’ll need (him) on the training ground on Friday and Saturday for assessment.”

The Midlands outfit aren’t short of options in midfield if McGinn misses out, with Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak able to deputise alongside Conor Hourihane in his absence. Birkir Bjarnason is set to miss out for Villa so he won’t be available for Smith.

With Jedinak’s last appearance for the club being all the way back in late-September, Whelan might start ahead of the Australian international if McGinn misses out.

Crippy Cooke’s previous article

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