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Aston Villa defender Matt Targett set for stint on sidelines

Relegation-threatened Villa have been dealt a blow after Matt Targett was ruled out of Sunday’s trip to champions Liverpool.

Aston Villa's Matt Targett (left)
Aston Villa's Matt Targett (left)

The left-back will miss the match at Anfield due to the hamstring injury sustained in the early stages of last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Wolves. Neil Taylor is primed to deputise.

Villa boss Dean Smith is hopeful Targett could return for next Thursday’s visit of Manchester United or, failing that, the home match with Crystal Palace on Sunday week.

Smith blamed the 24-year-old’s injury on fatigue and his potential absence from a crucial run of fixtures will further frustrate the boss, who was unhappy with his team being asked to play four matches in 11 days following the league’s restart.

Villa, who have six matches left to play, head to Anfield aiming to end an eight-game winless run against a Reds team yet to drop a point on their own turf.

The future of Villa sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch has, meanwhile, been cast into doubt with the club set to review its recruitment and scouting operation at the end of the season.

Pitarch, who was appointed in 2018, was responsible for sourcing the majority of the signings made during the last two transfer windows.

Villa spent around £140million after winning promotion on 13 new players, most of whom had never previously played in the Premier League.

Nearly all have struggled for consistency, with the club now facing an uphill battle to avoid the drop.

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