Date: 20th November 2018 at 5:15pm
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Dean Smith revealed on November 1 that he was watching Henri Lansbury in an internal game and said he was pleased from what he saw from the players. Nearly three weeks later, however, he’s still no closer to playing in the first-team.

Lansbury is playing in another internal game on Thursday, with Smith revealing: “The likes of Henri, James Bree and Anwar have upped the training sessions and that is what makes the squad better.”

The Villa midfielder has made just one appearance in the first-team this season. He featured in August’s 3-0 defeat to Burton Albion in the EFL Cup and hasn’t racked up a single minute of playing time since. Lansbury has been left out of the matchday squad 13 times in all competitions.

Signed from Nottingham Forest in January 2017, the 28-year-old has made 31 appearances across the board and finds his Villa career at the crossroads. Lansbury has stiff competition for a starting place – Conor Hourihane, John McGinn, Jack Grealish, Birkir Bjarnason, Mile Jedinak, Glenn Whelan – and may have to leave in pursuit of playing time.

His contract still has three years to run, but it’s unlikely the midfielder will remain at Villa Park until 2021. Smith continues to overlook him in the squad and there has been talk of Forest bringing Lansbury back to the City Ground. The Villans are in fine form of late, so it’s hard for a player to be brought back from the cold, but is there any chance Lansbury could return?

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