Aston Villa boss Dean Smith will hope to have Douglas Luiz and Ollie Watkins back available for our game with Newcastle United this weekend.
Villa will be looking to bounce back after our defeat to Watford in our Premier League season opener last weekend, as we host Steve Bruce’s side at home.
In order to have the best possible chance of securing a positive result, Smith will be hopeful that he’ll have as close to a fully fit squad at his disposal as possible, and it sounds as though he could be handed a double boost for Saturday.
As per his official Twitter account on Monday, Douglas Luiz confirmed that he has returned to Bodymoor Heath after being given an extended break following his involvement for Brazil in the Copa America and Olympics over the summer.
It’s been a hectic ‘off-season’ for the midfield ace, and so while it’s great to see him back at the training ground with the squad, it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be in contention to be involved against Newcastle Utd this weekend or if that game comes too soon.
Meanwhile, as per the Express and Star, Smith delivered a positive update on Watkins after he missed the defeat to Watford through injury after sustaining bone bruising to his knee in our final pre-season game against Salernitana.
There is no doubt that the 25-year-old’s presence was missed against the Hornets, such is his influence both in our attacking play as well as leading from the front and applying pressure on the opposition as our first line of defence.
However, as we look to bounce back and return to winning ways on Saturday, Smith seems hopeful he’ll be able to call upon our top goalscorer from last season.
“I’m hopeful Ollie will be back for Newcastle. We missed him on Saturday,” he said, as per the report above. “He naturally plays with an intensity and stretches the line really well for us. He certainly wouldn’t have given the Watford back four as much time on the ball as they had today.”
Time will tell if he’s in the matchday squad, as although Danny Ings made an immediate impact in his debut last time out, having Watkins back in the side will be a huge boost for us.