Aston Villa boss Dean Smith spoke to the media on Friday as he looked ahead to his side’s clash with Newcastle Utd on Saturday afternoon.
Villa will be looking to bounce back after our loss to Watford last weekend, and with a sold-out Villa Park to look forward to, the players will undoubtedly be itching to put on a top performance for the home faithful.
Having looked poor in the first half in particular last Saturday, Smith will know where his side went wrong at Vicarage Road and will look to put that right this time round, although there are still absentees through injury which comes as a blow.
As per his comments below, Smith confirmed that Ollie Watkins is not expected to feature on Saturday as he continues to recover from a knee injury, while Bertrand Traore is out until after the international break having sustained a hamstring injury at the weekend in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Liverpool.
“Ollie Watkins, I don’t expect to play. He’s not healed as quick as we would have liked so far,” the Villa boss told the media, as per the club’s official site. “I’m hopeful that he’ll be back for Brentford. If not, he’ll definitely be back after the international break. He suffered a knee injury. I don’t know too much about what it was but we were hopeful he’d be ready for tomorrow, but I don’t expect him to play.
“Bertrand Traore suffered a hamstring injury in the game last week, so he’s going to be out until just after the international break. Other than that, we’re fine.”
As per the thread below taken from Smith’s press conference, he also confirmed that Matt Targett missed the first couple of weeks of pre-season due to an injury he suffered at the end of last season, while he suggested that Leon Bailey hasn’t quite had enough minutes yet to start thinking about a starting role.
Dean Smith on Ollie Watkins: "I'm hopeful he'll be back for Brentford, if not he'll definitely be back after the international break. He's not healed as quick as we'd have liked, we were hopeful he'd be ready for tomorrow but I don't expect him to play."#avfc #UTV
— Talk Villa (@thetalkvilla) August 20, 2021
Morgan Sanson and Douglas Luiz are possibly in line to be included in the matchday squad, but with Sanson missing the entire pre-season as he recovered from his own injury issue and given Luiz has been busy with Brazil over the entire summer and has had just three days of training since returning to Bodymoor Heath, it’s unlikely that either will feature from the start at least.
In turn, Smith still has concerns over key missing players, but he’ll be confident in those at his disposal to get the three points that kick-start our campaign.