Crucial double boost after positive news on influential Villa duo

With 13 games remaining this season, Aston Villa have an opportunity to push on and at the very least, finally break back into the top half of the Premier League table.

While some might consider it too lofty a target, whereas others will be convinced it’s realistic, we also currently sit just seven points behind sixth-placed Newcastle Utd, and so European aspirations haven’t been distinguished just yet as we hope to finish the campaign strongly.

READ MORE: How Villa could line up vs West Ham: Two key potential Emery changes

Admittedly, it’s going to take an impressive run to close that gap in the coming weeks as we hope for results elsewhere to go our way too, but ultimately Unai Emery will want as close to a full-strength squad at his disposal between now and the end of the season to give it our best shot.

With that in mind, it was hugely important on Friday that the Villa boss delivered positive news on two key individuals in the group, with Diego Carlos on the verge of making his long-awaited comeback, while after real concerns over Boubacar Kamara last weekend following his injury setback, it sounds as though it isn’t as serious as first feared.

“Boubacar is not ready for Sunday but he’s going well,” Emery told the media, as per BirminghamLive. “He was speaking with the doctor this morning and he’s doing well. It’s not too serious. His return depends, two weeks out maybe is long for Kamara himself! He was playing well and is important. We are going to check with each match. He will not be involved on Sunday but, next week, we’ll have a look. But he’s doing OK.

“Diego Carlos is trying every day in his process to be comfortable, taking his fix. He’s a possibility for Sunday to include him in the squad which is good news.”

Given how influential Kamara has been in both phases of the game for us and how well he has been able to adapt to Emery’s style and execute his demands, having him back as soon as possible will be a major boost for our hopes of climbing the standings.

It will be interesting to see what the Villa boss goes with this weekend in his absence, with John McGinn arguably the top candidate to shift inside and deputise, but having Kamara back potentially as soon as Chelsea away on April 1 will provide a real lift for the rest of the group.

Meanwhile, it will of course take Carlos a while yet to get up to speed and build his match fitness to be in a position to compete for a starting place in the Villa XI. However, merely having the Brazilian competing and pushing in training alongside his teammates, getting minutes where possible and having an influence on our preparation and mentality will be a boost in itself.

Should he be able to return before the end of the season, his aggressive and physical style of play will no doubt make a key difference too coupled with his composure and technical quality to help us build out from the back, and that could be a catalyst for us to improve our performances and form further if he is able to displace one of Ezri Konsa or Tyrone Mings.

Kamara and Carlos were our two marquee signings last summer, but injury has robbed us of seeing them make the maximum impact possible in their first year with us. However, in a critical period of the business end of the campaign, we could have them both back in the mix at a crucial time to help us with our final push.

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