Boost for Villa as key figure trains with group after injury setback

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has been handed a boost as Ollie Watkins has been pictured in group training on Wednesday.

Watkins, 27, lasted just 32 minutes in our win over Leeds Utd last Friday night before being forced to limp off with an injury.

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Having scored one goal and provided two assists in four Premier League games since Emery took charge prior to that, Watkins has been pivotal in the Spaniard’s plans thus far, and so he’ll have been hoping for positive news this week on his availability.

It appears as though he has received such news, as Watkins was seen in training with the rest of the group in the images shared by the club on Wednesday, as seen in the tweet below.

That would suggest that the injury wasn’t serious enough to sideline Watkins, and so it’s now hoped that he will be available, or at least in contention, to face Southampton on Saturday.

With his work ethic, movement off the ball, ability to hold play up while leading the line as well as his impact in the final third, Watkins is evidently a key cog in Emery’s side, and although he has received criticism for his lack of clinical finishing, he is certainly a vital part of the Villa XI and the way in which Emery wants his team to play.

In turn, it’s a huge boost having him back in training this week, and so it’s now hoped that he continues to train without any setbacks or limitations in the coming days and makes the trip to St Mary’s this weekend.

Danny Ings will of course be ready to step in if necessary, as he did against Leeds, but should Watkins be passed fit, then the expectation is that he will be back in the Villa line-up, with Ings starting off the bench.