Date: 22nd February 2019 at 7:00am
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Aston Villa confirmed they will be without six players for Saturday afternoon’s meeting with Stoke City – Tom Carroll (muscle), James Chester (knee), Henri Lansbury (hamstring), Orjan Nyland (achilles), Axel Tuanzebe (foot), Jack Grealish (shin). Lovre Kalinic (concussion) could return in time, however, with Dean Smith making a late fitness assessment on Friday before deciding the goalkeeper’s fate.

Carroll was a doubt going into the Stoke clash but Smith said the game was too soon for the Villa midfielder. He’s back in training so there’s every chance Carroll will return to face Derby County on March 2. Nyland, Chester and Lansbury are still recovering. Smith gave no specific update on the trio in Thursday’s pre-match press conference.

Tuanzebe could return to Bodymoor Meath in March, but it could be another five weeks before fans see him in a matchday squad. Grealish was expected to feature in some capacity against Stoke, but he was ruled out by Smith. The news won’t go down well with supporters as they were led to believe by Smith that he’d be back. He’s training again but may still need conditioning work.

Read Crippy Cooke’s previous article

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