Dean Smith is ‘hopeful’ that Jack Grealish will be fit to face Tottenham this weekend, as the Aston Villa captain nears his return to first-team action.
Grealish has missed the club’s past five league fixtures through injury, a period which has seen Aston Villa pick up just one victory to dent the club’s hopes of securing European football.
Villa host Spurs in the Premier League this weekend with just four points currently separating the two sides in the division, and Smith is hopeful the influential star will be deemed fit enough to make his return against the north London side.
“I’m hopeful for Jack [Grealish]; I’ll leave it until Sunday morning. He’s not trained with us at the moment, but he’s pain-free and he’s running.”
“Since the break in January, we have dropped off in terms of creating chances, but I don’t think it’s just us. We have been working extremely hard to get that back.”
“We have had a year without the supporters, hopefully we can get back to some sort of normality because we have certainly missed that support.”
Tottenham head into the clash on the back of a north London derby defeat and Europa League exit to Dinamo Zagreb, with Jose Mourinho’s side having squandered a 2-0 first leg lead to lose in extra-time to the Croatian outfit on Thursday.
Smith, however, believes that result will not improve his side’s chance of securing victory this weekend, outlining his belief that there will be a ‘positive’ reaction from the Spurs’ players at Villa Park.
Smith also spoke on his desire for an improved performance from Villa in Sunday’s clash, having conceded a late goal to draw 1-1 at Newcastle last weekend.
”The result [against Dinamo Zagreb] doesn’t help us. I would expect them to react in a more positive way. We didn’t feel like we justified ourselves at Newcastle and we want to put that right.”