John McGinn missed Aston Villa’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City due to suspension and the FA confirm he’ll be absent for Saturday’s meeting with Derby County too. The 24-year-old is serving a two-match ban after picking up 10 yellow cards and will return after March 2. In his absence, Glenn Whelan has been given the nod by Dean Smith and could keep his place against the Rams.
McGinn’s return will also coincide with Jack Grealish and Tom Carroll coming back from respective injuries. The pair could feature this weekend, so Smith will be spoilt for choice when Villa face Birmingham City on March 10. Given how complimentary Smith has been of McGinn this season, it’s likely the Scotland international will instantly return to the starting eleven for the Second City derby.
The midfielder has been injured so he’s able to train with the first-team to stay fresh, so his two-game absence shouldn’t affect his impressive stamina levels. McGinn has missed only three Championship games since joining Villa from Hibernian last summer, scoring and creating nine goals in his debut season. He’s averaged a tackle (67) or interception (28) every 28 minutes and has created 54 chances and made 49 successful dribbles. He must play if available.