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Aston Villa hopeful of Ross Barkley return for Wolves clash

Villa are hopeful Ross Barkley will be back for the Midlands derby at Wolves on Saturday week.

Aston Villa's Ross Barkley
Aston Villa's Ross Barkley

The Chelsea loanee is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury but the postponement of tomorrow’s match against Newcastle means Villa may be without him for fewer matches than expected.

Monday’s 2-1 defeat to West Ham was the first game Barkley had missed since suffering the injury in the loss to Brighton on November 21.

His progress will now be assessed over the next week and while boss Dean Smith is mindful not to rush his return, with a busy festive period looming, the showdown with Wolves at Molineux is the first target.

Villa’s players were due back at Bodymoor Heath today after being granted an extra day off following the cancellation of the Newcastle match due to a coronavirus outbreak at the Magpies’ training ground.

The fixture will now be rearranged for later in the season along with Villa’s trip to Manchester City, which is still to be given a new date after being postponed on the opening weekend of the campaign.

For Smith the short-term benefit is longer preparation time ahead of the Wolves clash, giving several players the chance to reclaim full fitness.

Striker Keinan Davis, who has been absent from the last two matchday squads, is now back in training, while Kortney Hause and Frederic Guilbert will provide added cover for the defence.

Yet the return of Barkley which would undoubtedly deliver the biggest boost. The 26-year-old had scored two goals in five appearances before being forced out in the opening minutes of the defeat to Brighton.

“We are hopeful he will be back soon,” said Smith when discussing the injury prior to the trip to West Ham. “It is not as bad as a hamstring injury could be, which is good for us.

“At the same time we are not going to push him. We will make sure he is fully fit because we don’t want to lose him again.

“We signed him because he is a quality player and if you have those players come out of your team it does have an effect. We don’t really have another player similar to Ross, in terms of the way he plays.”

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