Dean Smith confirms whether or not Jack Grealish will face Newcastle United
Jack Grealish has missed Aston Villa’s last four games.
Those four matches seeing Villa struggle for both creativity and goals, as well as points.
Only two goals scored and four points picked up, the results including a 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United.
All eyes / ears on what Dean Smith was going to say on Thursday morning at his pre-Newcastle press conference, regarding his captain and playmaker’s availability.
The Villa boss saying that Anwar El Ghazi and Matt Cash will return from injury BUT Jack Grealish will not.
Dean Smith saying a big factor has been Grealish being ill this week which has prevented him training.
Jack Grealish has scored six and got ten assists amongst the 38 PL goals Villa have scored so far.
Asked about Steve Bruce and Newcastle now being favourites to go down, Dean Smith says: ‘They finished in a very good position in the league last season and I’ve no doubt they’ll do so again.’
As always, opposition managers always talking up their opposite numbers, except on very rare occasions.
Dean Smith Thursday morning pre-Newcastle press conference, starting with player availability:
“Jack Grealish is a lot better, but you won’t see him at Newcastle unfortunately.
“It hasn’t helped that he’s been ill this week, which has kept him off for a couple of days.
“He’s made good progress and we’re happy with where he’s at. Hopefully he’ll be available for selection against Tottenham.
“Matt Cash will be in the squad, he’s come back from his hamstring injury quicker than expected, which is really pleasing.
“Anwar El Ghazi’s got over his infected toenail, so he’s back as well.”
On Newcastle United:
“I’m very respectful of what Steve Bruce has done in the game and what he continues to do.
“They finished in a very good position in the league last season and I’ve no doubt they’ll do so again.
“I’m not here to tell anybody what Steve Bruce can do. He’s a far more experienced manager than I am.
“Five or six teams are looking over their shoulders – Newcastle being one of them.
“There’s extra importance on each game they play now.”
On Emiliano Martinez’s season:
“The impact he’s made has been incredible. We knew that he had that Premier League experience – he was recently an FA Cup winner, so we knew we were signing a good goalkeeper.
“We’ve got good goalkeepers at the football club. Unfortunately, at the time Tom Heaton was injured and wasn’t going to make the start of the season.
“It makes it a real competitive area. Thankfully, Emi has excelled which has been good for our team as a whole.”
On the season so far:
“I’d have certainly taken that [ninth place with games in hand] at the start of the season. I’d have never accepted it because I’ve always got a belief that you can go and do well, but we have progressed a lot quicker than we thought we would this season.
“We knew that we weren’t satisfied with last season and we wanted to improve anyway. The improvement in the first half of the season was very good.
“Like most teams at the moment, we’ve been a little bit inconsistent with results recently.”
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