Aston Villa will be without Jack Grealish for Sunday’s Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur.
Grealish has been out of action since sustaining a shin problem in training a month ago, causing him to miss Villa’s last five games in succession and will not make his return against Tottenham.
That is despite Smith refusing to completely rule out a return for the attacking midfielder during his pre-match press conference.
“I know Aston Villa fans will be fretting that it’s a long-term injury,” Smith told reporters. “It’s not a long-term injury as I’ve said. It’s always been one where we’ve been guided by Jack who’s been suffering the pain.
“I can 99.9 per cent say he’ll be definitely back for Fulham if he doesn’t make Sunday.
“It’s just been one of those things where we’ve had to pull him out for a number of games.”
But as the aforementioned report states, Grealish will miss the Spurs clash as he is targeting a return to action after the internatonal break, but remains touch and go for the home match against Fulham.
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The 25-year-old’s absence is certainly a major blow for Villa as he had been in great form prior to the setback.
Furthermore, Smith’s side have taken just five points from a possible 15 while he has been out and that has allowed Spurs to leapfrog them in the Premier League table.
Victory for the Lilywhites on Sunday will see them move seven points clear of the hosts – albeit having played a game more – and would be the perfect response to crashing out of the Europa League on Thursday.