Dean Smith speaks ahead of Newcastle clash
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Aston Villa may welcome back skipper Jack Grealish to a side without a point, since he limped off at the Etihad Stadium almost a month ago.

He may well be the much needed boost Smith needs ahead of a crucial home clash against Newcastle.

Smith told the club's Youtube channel: "Jack’s been training with us but I am a bit ill at ease to say he’s available because I’ve said it the last couple of weeks and he’s not played, such has been his calf injury".

"But he has trained with us for the last week so I have no doubts he will be there and in his happy place at Villa Park, playing in front of the fans”

Injury relief

Elsewhere, Tom Heaton, Matt Targett and Bjorn Engels have also suffered respective injury blows.

"Matt’s been through (the concussion) protocol, and he’s been back training now for the last week.

“Bjorn had an injection in his hip about 10 days ago and has also been back in training. I would expect them all to be fully fit and available for selection”.

Heaton has not trained with the Villa team having withdrawn from Gareth Southgate's England squad that recently qualified for EURO 2020. He will be assessed this weekend ahead of Monday night.

Villa are winless in their last six home top flight encounters with Newcastle. Smith knows the importance of every result in the Premier League.

"I think every game we play at Villa Park is big in this league".

"I said at the start of the season that our home form is going to be the most important thing about this season".

“We’ve performed well at home so far and were unfortunate against Liverpool but our last performance away from home against Wolves and the players certainly got a reminder about that".

Bruce returns

Former Villa coach Steve Bruce yielded a 45% winning ratio in over a year at the Villa Park helm. Villa and Smith beat Bruce's Sheffield Wednesday side last year in a record breaking ten match winning run before gaining promotion though the Championship play-offs.

"We’ve played Steve before when he was manager at Sheffield Wednesday last season and when I took over this job I said, I have got an awful lot of respect for Steve Bruce for what he has done in management and most importantly how he is as a man as well".

“If you look at Newcastle at the start of the season there was a lot of questions about the whole football club and which way it was going but Steve has gone in and does what he does best".

Newcastle have won back-to-back games for the first time this season and have since climbed out of the relegation zone in recent gameweeks.

Smith said: "They have pace and power up front, very good counter-attacking team as West Ham found out, 3-0 up at West Ham at half-time is no mean feat".

“Steve's got them organised and pace and power up front, they’re winning games now, won their last couple, beat Man Utd, so they are in good form.

“It is going to be a tough game but one we are looking forward to":

Villa will host Newcastle on Monday Night Football, 20:00 kick off.

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