Having returned to full training over the March international break, Jack Grealish (£7.5m) was expected to make a playing comeback for Aston Villa’s clash with Fulham this afternoon.
The Villa talisman is absent from the hosts’ matchday squad, however, with Dean Smith reporting that the England international pulled up in training on Saturday.
The Villa boss said:
He’s trained this week and was looking really good but he had some discomfort yesterday and pulled out after 10 minutes in training. We erred on the side of caution as we must do. He was all up for playing [until then].
The hosts will be looking to improve on their sub-per record without Grealish: they have scored on just three occasions in the six matches he has missed.
Smith makes one change to the side that started the 2-0 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last time out.
Anwar El Ghazi (£5.3m) comes in for Trezeguet (£5.2m) in the Villa head coach’s only tweak to his starting XI.
Scott Parker has made four alterations to the side that started the Cottagers’ defeat to Leeds United a fortnight ago.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (£5.5m) is the most notable name among the quartet of returnees, with Josh Maja (£5.5m) dropping to the bench.
Parker said of the Serb’s recall:
His form for his country has played a big part. The last game in terms of selection [in Gameweek 29], it was nip and tuck, really, he came off the back of very good work, training-wise. Well deserves his chance.
Bobby Decordova-Reid (£5.3m), Kenny Tete (£4.3m) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£5.9m) are also additions to the line-up, with Antonee Robinson (£4.4m), Ivan Cavaleiro (£5.3m) and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (£4.5m) dropping to the bench.
Aston Villa XI: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Sanson, Traore, Watkins, El Ghazi
Fulham XI: Areola, Tete, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Aina, Reed, Lemina, Reid, Loftus-Cheek, Lookman, Mitrovic.
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