With Aston Villa centre-half James Chester coming in for a fair amount of criticism in recent weeks as our form stumbled and we continued our leaky form in the 2018/19 Championship campaign, it’s been revealed this week that the Welshman is now on a reduced training schedule as he battles a knee problem.
The Birmingham Mail reported late Monday evening that head coach Dean Smith had confirmed the problem, and the obvious follow through from that would be that additional cover in the heart of defence will now be a target for the remainder of the January transfer window to avoid Chester breaking down completely and being out for a significant period of time.
Smith explained that this had been the case for a while and he’s been playing through pain for us since the start of last month.
“Chezzie has been training only a couple of times a week because he had a niggle with a knee. He had an injection before the West Bromwich Albion game. That is how long it has been. He has been soldiering on for us and doing really well. It certainly does not help him that he is not training every day. He certainly showed the players and us that he can keep getting on with it and do a good job. The goal was a big lift for everyone. Our cover in those areas hasn’t been great. We will look to improve that during the transfer window and try to get more options defensively.”
With Tommy Elphick already recalled from his loan spell and Kortney Hause brought in from Wolves, with Axel Tuanzebe missing with an injury of his own it does sound like we can expect one more through the door before deadline day at the end of the month.
Given how short we left ourselves at centre-half that decision seems even more amateurish now with Chester’s problem beginning in December. A game or two break back then may have solved the issue.
I imagine plenty of fans will now be prepared to give him some benefit of the doubt.