By Phil Jennings
VILLA will turn to 34-year-old Mile Jedinak to fill the gap left at the back by Tryone Mings and Kortney Hause.
Mings is suspended for Saturday’s crunch play-off clash with Bristol City after being sent off against Rotherham in midweek.
And on-loan Wolves defender Hause is still out of action with the hip injury that kept him out of the victory at Sheffield Wednesday.
That means a recall for Jedinak who impressed when he came on at Rotherham as a result of Mings’ dismissal.
Villa came from a goal behind to win 2-1 depite being reduced to 10 men.
Jedinak has not started a game since September and with Tommy Elphick and James Chester also out, the Australia international has a key role to play.
Chester is back in training and Alan Hutton will be available after recovering from an ankle injury.
Smith told reporters: “Kortney’s going to struggle. I’ll leave it as late as possible but it’s looking doubtful.
“He’s got a hip flexor problem and it can affect the abdominal side of it. “If he’s not ready we’ve got people who can go and play there like Mile showed on Wednesday evening.”
Smith confirmed that keeper Lovre Kalinuic has undergone knee surgery – but said he could be back quicker than the three to four weeks originally suggested.
The Villa boss added: “He had an operation to tidy up a bit of cartilage.
“He’s walking around already and I expect him to be back in the next 10 days or so.
“It was one we wanted to get done very quickly. He came back from international duty, had a scan, and they saw a little problem so they’ve dealt with it very quickly.”