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Aston Villa set to welcome back Jacob Ramsey for FA Cup tie

Villa are poised to welcome back Jacob Ramsey when they host Stevenage on Sunday hunting their first FA Cup win for seven years.

Aston Villa's Jacob Ramsey
Aston Villa's Jacob Ramsey

The England under-21 midfielder returned to training last week after recovering from a hamstring injury sustained during the World Cup break. He is now ready to make his return as Villa aim to reach the FA Cup fourth round for the first time since 2016.

“We can add maybe, I think, Ramsey which is good after one month without him,” explained boss Unai Emery.

“He is going to be important. It is good to have him playing some minutes and then to be ready for the match against Leeds.”

Emery has confirmed he will make changes to his starting XI but is determined to take no big chances with an opposing team currently riding high in League Two.

Danny Ings, Philippe Coutinho, Leander Dendoncker and Ludwig Augustinsson are all in line to start after encouraging cameos off the bench in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Wolves.

“There will be changes – but I want to win,” said Emery. “I’m going to use players thinking how can we play and control the match, with good positioning.

“I will try to mix experienced players with the qualities, the skills, how we can play like I want to create and build this team.”

Emery, a four-time Europa League winner, has the reputation of being something of a cup specialist and Villa will be hoping he can work his magic to improve their record in a competition they have not won since 1957.

Their six successive third round exits have been down to a combination of poor performances, tough draws and unlucky timing. At least three defeats – two in the Championship and their first back in the Premier League – came when priorities were placed elsewhere, while two years ago they were forced to field the youth team against Liverpool due to a Covid-19 outbreak at Bodymoor Heath.

Last year’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester United was by far their most impressive showing, Ings seeing a second half equaliser controversially ruled out by VAR. Sunday will be Villa’s first home FA Cup fixture with supporters since a 3-0 home defeat to Swansea four years ago. Stevenage are their lowest-ranked opponents in the competition since they edged past Wycombe on a replay, their last win.

Emery, who also won four domestic up competitions in charge of Paris Saint-Germain, made clear his desire to end Villa’s trophy drought, which currently stands at 27 years, when he took charge two months ago.

“The FA Cup is a very good opportunity to try to do something in this way,” he said. “On Sunday, we are going to prepare with the objective to win. If we can progress in the FA Cup, maybe?

"I want to enjoy each day, the training sessions, matches in the league and the FA Cup as well. I want to share with the players the opportunity to do something.”

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