How Aston Villa could line up vs Everton: Cash returns, Grealish still out

Aston Villa face a difficult trip to Goodison Park to take on Everton on Saturday night, and Dean Smith is still without Jack Grealish.

A win this weekend could move us back into the top half of the table and just four points adrift of our opponents, who are continuing to push to break into the European qualification spots.

READ MORE: Smith press conference: Villa boss on Everton clash, season so far and injury news

In turn, there is plenty at stake for both sides still as they will both be desperate to enjoy a strong finish to the Premier League campaign.

Team news

Smith confirmed on Friday in his press conference that Grealish, Morgan Sanson and Trezeguet all miss out, while Matty Cash returns after serving his one-game suspension following his red card against Man City.

Smith is expected to go without a familiar line-up with possibly just the one change at right-back, although there are a number of youth products knocking on the door for an opportunity to get involved.

Keinan Davis scored his first Premier League goal in the 2-2 draw with West Brom last time out as he continues to make an impact off the bench, while the likes of Carney Chukwuemeka and Kaine Kesler impressed again earlier this week while in action for the U18s.

While they could be involved in the matchday squad, it would ultimately be a surprise to see them in the XI, and so Villa will probably go with what they know this weekend.

The backline continues to pick itself when at full strength, with Cash, Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings and Matt Targett forming the four-man defence in front of Emiliano Martinez.

Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Ross Barkley, Anwar El Ghazi and Bertrand Traore will all be pushing for a starting berth, while Jacob Ramsey will hope to get another opportunity too.

Ollie Watkins is likely to lead the line, but it remains to be seen if Smith has seen enough from Davis in recent weeks to give him a start and see what he can offer as a focal point up top. That could in turn see Watkins move across to the left flank to support him.

Wesley made his comeback last weekend but is still short of fitness and so will no doubt hope to get minutes late on.

Match facts

Villa will have to end a barren run at Goodison which has seen Everton go nine games unbeaten against at home in all competitions, while our defence has struggled to keep things tight in recent games as we’ve conceded at least two goals in our last three outings.

This will be the 205th top-flight clash between these two pillars of English football, the most played fixture in the division.

While we’ve struggled in recent months, Everton have won just one of their last nine home league games, losing seven across the season thus far. Grabbing the first goal could be crucial, but only if we improve on our recent poor run of protecting leads as we’ve gone ahead in our last three games but failed to win any of them.

Predicted line up

Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Luiz, Barkley, McGinn; Traore, Watkins, El Ghazi.