Important week for Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn
Villa boss Dean Smith hopes this week’s break in the fixture schedule will aid John McGinn’s battle to get back on pace in the Premier League.
McGinn started the first three of Villa’s matches following the season’s resumption before coming off the bench in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Wolves, with Smith admitting the midfielder is still playing catch-up after nearly six months without a match through injury.
Having played four times in 11 days, relegation-threatened Villa will have been out of action for eight days by the time they kick-off at champions Liverpool on Sunday.
Smith said: “It’s a really important week (for John). I’d like to have kept him in the team, but John is trying to play catch-up.
“He made 10 sprints against Sheffield United, seven against Chelsea and two against Newcastle. I just didn’t expect it to go up to 10 again, hence giving him a breather and hoping he could make an impact from the bench.”
Smith gave his players two days off to recuperate after the Wolves defeat, with preparations for the Liverpool match set to begin in earnest today.
Villa are also assessing the fitness of Matt Targett after the left-back was forced off just 10 minutes into Saturday’s match with a hamstring issue.
It was the third time this season the 24-year-old had left a match due to injury, though Smith is hopeful the problem is not too serious.
Away from the relegation fight, Villa yesterday announced online car retailer Cazoo as their main sponsor for the 2020/21 campaign, replacing gambling firm W88.