Dean Smith could opt to replace the injured Jack Grealish with Glenn Whelan against Stoke City on Saturday afternoon, pushing Conor Hourihane higher up the pitch in the process. It’s a missed opportunity for Henri Lansbury, however, as he would have been the ideal option in Grealish’s stead had he not picked up his own injury in November.
Lansbury made his long-awaited Aston Villa return against Birmingham City on November 25, which incidentally was his first league appearance of the season, but he lasted only eight minutes before hobbling off with a hamstring injury. The midfielder hasn’t made the matchday squad since and doesn’t appear to be close to a return ahead of Saturday afternoon’s meeting with Stoke.
The 28-year-old has amassed only 188 minutes of first-team football in 2018/19, making two appearances in the last seven months. In his pomp, Lansbury was a player who could create chances of finish them off himself, but he’s been an afterthought in an Aston Villa shirt and may not be at the club next season.
Dena Smith had praised his attitude and work ethic in training last month, eventually handing him a substitute appearance as reward, but it may be 2019 until fans see him back out on the pitch again.