Smith faces injury balancing act

By Graham Hill

VILLA boss Dean Smith may have had most of his key men back fit again in recent weeks – but it is worth mentioning that there are injury worries over as many as SEVEN of his regular side

As Villa prepare to face Millwall for a shot a club record TENTH successive league win, Smith does have casualties to deal with.

Tammy Abraham emerged as a doubt for the game after inuring his shoulder at Bolton on Friday.

He came off as he was in too much pain. And although it would be tempting to risk the on-loan Chelsea striker with his ability in front of goal, it might be wiser to rest him with the play-offs in sight.

Abraham now has 25 goals for the season and could get to 30 if Villa can extend their campaign.

Jonathan Kodjia could come back in for Abraham but he has also been missing with a rib injury.

Smith rested him at Bolton after he picked up the injury against Rotherham.

But the Villa boss hinted that Kodjia had a chance of being fit to face Millwall even before Abraham’s injury.

Defender Axel Tuanzebe is another doubt for the Millwall clash with an ankle injury suffered at Bolton.

Again, with the big picture in mind, Smith may decide not to take a risk and that could mean a recall for Mile Jedinak.

On loan Wolves defender Kortney Hause has a hip injury which is likely to keep him out against Millwall.

Club captain James Chester has been out for some time with a knee injury and Smith has been unable to put a date on his return – but it is hoped he could be back before the end of this season.

Keeper Lovre Kalinic has been missing since undergoing a knee operation but he could be back before the end of the season – but Jed Steer has played a key role in the Croatian’s absence.

Add to that the fact that Norway keeper Orjan Nyland is out for the season with an Achilles injury but defender Tommy Elphick is back after being out since early March after coming off in the Derby game, and Smith still has a number of casualties to contend with

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