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Villa's Smith hopes to have Grealish fit for Spurs clash

Villa's Smith hopes to have Grealish fit for Spurs clash

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion v Aston Villa - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - February 13, 2021 Aston Villa's Jack Grealish in action with Brighton & Hove Albion's Pascal Gross Pool via REUTERS/Ian Walton

REUTERS: Aston Villa will take a late call on Jack Grealish's availability for their Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur as he comes back from a leg injury, manager Dean Smith said on Friday.

Grealish, who has six goals and 10 assists this season, has sat out the last five matches and Smith said Villa have missed the England international after the club won only one game during that run.

"I'm hopeful for Jack, I'll leave it until Sunday morning. He's not trained with us at the moment but he's pain-free and he's running," Smith told reporters ahead of Sunday's game.

"Since the break in January, we have dropped off in terms of creating chances, but I don't think it's just us. We have been working extremely hard to get that back.

"We have had a year without the supporters, hopefully we can get back to some sort of normality because we have certainly missed that support."

Smith had reason to smile, however, after Villa forward Ollie Watkins was rewarded with his first senior England call-up for an impressive campaign in which he has scored 10 goals in 27 matches in his debut season in the top flight.

"It's a very proud moment and well deserved for Ollie, I have spoken glowingly about his attitude and how hard he works... We told him that Aston Villa could be a great platform for him and so it has proved," Smith said.

"But just getting into the England squad won't be enough for Ollie, he'll want to get on the pitch for England, he'll want to start and he'll want to score goals for England."

Spurs were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday by Dinamo Zagreb and Smith said now was not the best time to face Jose Mourinho's side who are smarting from the defeat.

"The result doesn't help us," he said. "I would expect them to react in a more positive way."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

Source: Reuters


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