The Villans boss is still hopeful of having his talismanic captain back before the end of the season, but no return date is being set at present
Jack Grealish has been ruled out for “a few more weeks”, but Aston Villa manager Dean Smith insists a niggling shin complaint for his talismanic captain is a not a “long-term” problem.
The Villans have been without their skipper since seeing him break down in the build-up to the Premier League defeat against Midlands rivals Leicester on February 21.
A return to training has been made, but Grealish suffered a setback ahead of the meeting with Fulham and finds himself back in the treatment room.
What has been said?
Villa boss Smith has told reporters when asked to offer an update on Grealish: “Jack had a setback obviously last week. Myself and Jack were probably a little too optimistic trying to get him back.
“He wanted to be back for the Tottenham game (March 21) and we tried to push him for the Fulham game but he’s had a setback which will probably keep him out for a few more weeks. We need to de-load him.
“The good news is is that it’s not a long-term injury. He’s mostly quite calm and we know he’ll be back before the end of the season. It is what it is.”
How many games will Grealish miss?
The 25-year-old midfielder has already sat out seven games for Villa. They have taken only eight points from the 21 on offer, but remain in the hunt for European qualification.
Smith will be eager to get Grealish back as soon as possible, while international ambitions with England heading towards this summer’s European Championship also need to be taken into account.
Villa will not be rushing a prized asset, though, and will expect him to be sidelined through to the end of April. That would mean him missing meetings with Liverpool, Manchester City and West Brom – with the first of those fixtures set to take place on Saturday.
The Villans are due to face Everton at Goodison Park on May 1, which could be a possible return date for Grealish, with a testing run-in set to see them tackle Manchester United, Crystal Palace, Tottenham and Chelsea.