Date: 16th February 2019 at 9:45am
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Dean Smith confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Neil Taylor had trained on Friday and would be “back in the squad” for Aston Villa’s Midlands derby clash with West Bromwich Albion. The 30-year-old missed Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Brentford through illness but will find himself in the matchday squad for an important outing this weekend.

When asked for an update on Taylor, Smith replied: “Yea, he trained (Friday) so he’s back in the squad.” Given the Welsh international had played in five consecutive league games before his illness, there’s every chance he could come straight back into the starting lineup against the Baggies, replacing Kortney Hause in the process.

Taylor has made 19 Championship appearances this season and is the first-choice at left-back when fit. He has extra competition from the likes of Tyrone Mings and Hause, who can both operate at left-back and centre-back, which should spur him on to improve. Villa can’t afford any more slip-ups in their pursuit for the playoffs.

They come into the Midlands derby with only one win from their last eight games and currently sit seven points adrift of the top-six. As for Albion, they find themselves fourth in the table with two wins and a draw from their last four.

Crippy Cooke’s previous article

Aston Villa midfielder to miss West Brom clash, Saturday’s meeting ‘will come too early’

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