Dean Smith has revealed that Birkir Bjarnason could return to training “soon” now the midfielder has “started jogging” again. The 30-year-old last played for Villa against Queens Park Rangers on October 26 and was brought off after 41 minutes for Glenn Whelan due to injury.
He is slowly nearing a return, however, and could be back before 2018 comes to a close if his fitness work goes well. Smith said in his pre-match press conference: “Bjarnason has started jogging now and will hopefully be on the training ground working with us soon.”
Bjarnason has made nine Championship appearances this season, scoring two goals. He lost his place in the side for most of September but returned to the starting lineup at the end of the month until his injury. The Icelandic international has only made two appearances under Smith, so he has a lot to prove to his new boss.
The Midlands outfit haven’t suffered in his absence, with John McGinn and Conor Hourihane forming a potent midfield partnership. Glenn Whelan has performed well in the middle of the park too. Villa have won four and drawn one of their last five Championship games and find themselves three points off a playoff place.
Smith’s men face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Friday evening and could move into the top-six with a win.