Aston Villa face Southampton this weekend, and there was mixed news on the injury front regarding Carney Chukwuemeka and Bertrand Traore.
Villa will be desperate to build on our win over Brighton last time out and start to put a string of results together as we aim to finish the Premier League season in strong fashion.
It promises to be a difficult task against Ralph Hassenhuttl’s men as they’re in good form and have moved above us in the standings, but ultimately Steven Gerrard knows we have the quality in our side to get the three points on Saturday afternoon and will hope that confidence and belief is high amongst the group.
He’ll have to make do without Chukwuemeka for this one though as he’s still out due to injury, but the Villa boss did provide more positive news on both Traore and Nakamba.
“Carney Chukwuemeka will miss the weekend. He’s got an outside chance of being involved against Leeds,” Gerrard told the media on Friday, as per the club’s official site. “He was back on the pitch with the physio yesterday and today, but this game will come too soon. We’re hoping to have him available for Leeds on Thursday.
“Bertrand Traore joined the group in full training for the first time yesterday, so he’s got two days under his belt now with no issues. We’ll make a decision later today whether he comes back into the squad.”
Gerrard added that Marvelous Nakamba is three to four weeks away from a return.
While Traore may find it difficult to break back into the starting Villa XI given the competition for places in the final third, it’s the potential return of Nakamba in the coming weeks which could prove to be particularly important.
Prior to suffering his knee injury, Nakamba was a key figure in Gerrard’s plans and Villa have failed to replace him in the side since he was sidelined, in terms of adding a defensive shield in midfield and a balance to the team in general.
In turn, getting him back for the run-in to end the season will come as a huge boost, and it’s hoped that timeline remains accurate in that he doesn’t suffer any setbacks at this stage of his recovery so he can make his comeback as soon as possible.