Alan Hutton doesn’t appear to be close to a return for Aston Villa, but Dean Smith said the 34-year-old is doing light work on the training field after being given a short break to be with his family.
He revealed in Friday’s pre-match press conference: “Alan (is) more a slow-burner. Alan is back in the building. We gave him time with his family. He’s now doing some light rehab work.”
With his contract expiring in June, there were growing fears Hutton may have played his last game for Villa when Smith admitted his knee injury didn’t look good in February. The Scottish international should return before the campaign comes to a close, however.
Hutton has been sidelined for three weeks, missing Villa’s last three league games against Derby County, Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest. They’ve boasted a 100% record in the Championship during his absence, however, with Ahmed Elmohamady finally finding some consistency at right-back.
The 31-year-old Egyptian should keep his place against Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon and could help Villa move into the playoff places if results go their way over the weekend.
Smith’s men are currently eighth in the Championship with 54 points from 37 games and are just two points adrift of the top-six with nine matches to go. Hutton will be desperate to play a part in the run-in as a send-off to supporters.