Smith is getting his troops back

By Graham Hill

VILLA boss Dean Smith could have a wealth of talent to choose from as he bids for a place in the Championship Play-offs.

Smith has barely been able to pick from a fully-fit squad since taking over as Villa manager.

But things have come together in recent weeks – co-inciding with an eight match winning run which has taken Villa into the top six.

Two more wins over Easter – at Bolton and then hosting Millwall – should book Villa’s place in the Play-offs.

Smith gave an injury update to reporters on Wednesday and said captain Jack Grealish is likely to have recovered from the illness that kept him out of the win over Bristol City last Saturday.

Jonathan Kodjia is set to miss the Bolton game with a rib injury – but he is recovering and could play against Millwall.

Smith said: “He’s not as sore as he was. He had a rib injury.

“Friday’s game will probably come too soon but he should be back in contention for Monday against Millwall.

“Jack’s fine. He’s been back in since Tuesday. He’s good.

“Tammy is fine, too after coming off with a tight hamstring.”

Tyrone Mings is set to return to the Villa team at Bolton on Friday with Mile Jedinak likely to make way as Smith’s side go for a club record equalling NINTH straight victory.

But Smith also had news on longer term injury concerns with Tommy Elphick and James Chester making progress.

The Villa boss added: “Elphick’s training with us now. He’s getting his fitness up.

“He got injured against Derby, which was about six weeks ago. So he’s working his way back to full fitness.

“Chezzie’s doing some grass work now so he’s getting out there. Hopefully he will be back before the end of the season.

“Kortney hasn’t been out on the grass just yet but the hip flexor seems to be responding well to treatment.  I’m expecting him out on Tuesday after the Millwall game.”

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