Dean Smith says Jack Grealish “won’t be available” for Saturday’s meeting with Stoke City. The Aston Villa manager believes it’s “too soon” for the key midfielder to feature but said he’s progressing well and working hard on the training ground.
Grealish has been out of action for more than two months, last featuring against West Bromwich Albion on December 7. The 23-year-old has been sidelined with a shin injury that he’s only just overcome, but his match fitness and general conditioning needs work.
When asked about Grealish’s availability ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Stoke City, Smith said in Thursday’s pre-match press conference: “No, Saturday will come too soon for him, so he won’t be available. He’s still working very haard on the training and has done bits and bobs with us. He’s progressing which is what we want and he’s back on the grass training now.”
Grealish has made 21 Championship appearances this season, scoring and creating six goals. The midfielder’s absence has hurt Villa, with the Midlands outfit picking up only two wins in the two months Grealish has been out of action for.
They come into Saturday’s meeting without a win in four games and could be all out of the playoff race if they drop more points. Villa finds themselves nine points adrift of the top-six and have played more games than the sides in the playoffs, so Grealish’s return can’t come soon enough.
The hope will be that he’ll be in the squad to face Derby County on March 2.