John McGinn has been handed a two-match suspension after picking up a yellow card in Saturday’s defeat to West Bromwich Albion. The Aston Villa midfielder will now miss his side’s upcoming games against Stoke City (February 23) and Derby County (March 2), so who can Dean Smith replace him with?
Jack Grealish is on the recovery trail, but he may only be fit enough for the bench on Saturday. Tom Carroll is also being mentioned as a potential returnee on the weekend but may also be short of fitness. His only outing for Villa was a 16-minute appearance against Reading nearly three weeks ago. Henri Lansbury is still recovering and doesn’t look likely to return just yet.
Mile Jedinak could be called upon as he’s made three appearances between late-January and early-February while remaining in the matchday squad for their last two league outings. Smith might consider it too cautious to have the 34-year-old and Glenn Whelan together in midfield, however.
That leaves Birkir Bjarnason who hasn’t played for Villa since mid-January and has been left out of the matchday squad on three occasions since.