Aston Villa face Everton on Saturday evening and Dean Smith will make a late decision on the availability of Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia.
The Argentine pair were absent for the Chelsea game last weekend after reporting for international duty the previous week and subsequently they have had to follow Covid isolation guidelines.
Smith provided an update on the duo during his press conference on Friday, confirming that they are due back in England on Saturday morning, and so he’ll make a late call on whether or not they will be selected once he’s had a closer look at them.
“We’re expecting them to join us tomorrow morning. I’ll assess it then and see whether they’re involved or not,” he told the media, as per the club’s official site. “We’ve got the numbers of what they’ve been doing each day, that gets sent straight to our performance department and passed onto our coaches. They’re in a good place physically.”
Given Martinez’s impressive impact and influence on the side since his arrival, having kept 16 clean sheets in 41 appearances for Villa, his return between the posts will no doubt be a huge boost for Smith.
Further, with Buendia scoring his first goal for the club against Brentford in his last appearance for us, it’s been frustrating that he wasn’t able to build on that immediately and will now potentially need time to work his way back into the side and to get to full fitness.
Nevertheless, should he only make the bench this weekend, it will certainly be a positive option to have to come on and possibly influence the game.
Meanwhile, there was largely positive news on the injury front as Smith went on to add that there are no new injury concerns for him heading into the game with Everton, but Carney Chukwuemeka and Jaden Philogene-Bidace remain sidelined due to issues that they picked up over the international break.
“Carney Chukwuemeka won’t make the team. He’s not trained all week, nor has Jaden Philogene-Bidace. They’re the only two who are out.”
Time will tell what XI Smith goes with as there are a number of key decisions to be made given the competition and depth in the squad now, but the main focus will be on whether or not Martinez and Buendia are back in the fold.