Date: 15th March 2019 at 8:00am
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Tom Carroll returned to the matchday squad against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday after spending two weeks sidelined with injury, but it’s unlikely supporters will see him in the starting lineup against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

The on-loan Aston Villa midfielder has made just two appearances in all competitions since joining from Swansea City in January and may have to be patient for an opportunity as Dean Smith could name an unchanged midfield of Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane and John McGinn.

McGinn was outstanding on his return to the starting lineup, scoring two goals and delivering a man-of-the-match display at the City Ground in midweek. Hourihane was also praised by supporters for his performance. He’s looked a different player of late.

Grealish’s return from injury has led to an upturn in form. He’s impressed back in midfield, scoring two goals in his last three appearances, and is unlikely to be dropped. Carroll will be short of match fitness due to his lack of playing time, so Smith might have to resort to cameo appearances instead.

Victory over Middlesbrough on Saturday could see the Midlands outfit move into the Championship playoffs so it’s not the time for Smith to make unnecessary changes to the squad.

Crippy Cooke’s previous article

‘Fantastic’, ‘Great’ – some fans laud Aston Villa winger after beating Nottingham Forest

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