The Villans have been without their skipper since the middle of February and will not figure in a Premier League trip to Newcastle on Friday
Jack Grealish is set to sit out a fifth successive game for Aston Villa with a niggling leg injury, but Dean Smith expects to have his captain back for a home date with Tottenham on March 21.
The Villans have been without their talismanic skipper since seeing him laid low in training on February 18.
Smith’s side have collected just four points from a possible 12 as Grealish – who has also been nursing a bout of sickness – finds himself stuck on the sidelines.
What has been said?
Asked for an update on Grealish ahead of a Premier League trip to Newcastle on Friday, Villa boss Smith told reporters: “Jack’s been making really good progress but, unfortunately, he won’t make Newcastle.
“He has been ill this week so he’s been off for a couple of days as well, but we’re hopeful for the Tottenham game now, that’s for sure.”
Smith added: “He’s still in and around the training ground. He takes part in the meetings. He’s got a voice and an opinion, which is good.
“He was one of the ones when we did our debrief after the Sheffield United game who, having watched the game, was telling the players how well we played and deserved more out of the game. He’s matured an awful lot and takes on a lot more responsibility, that’s for sure.”
How have Villa fared in Grealish’s absence?
Smith’s men have taken just one win from the four games Grealish has sat out so far.
That solitary success came away at Leeds, while another point was picked up last time out in a goalless derby draw with West Midlands neighbours Wolves.
Villa have come unstuck against Leicester and Sheffield United, with struggles for consistency leaving them ninth in the table.
Any other fitness news to report?
While Grealish will be restricted to a watching brief at St James’ Park, Villa are set to welcome Matty Cash back into their plans after seeing the buccaneering right-back shake off a hamstring complaint.
Smith said: “Matt Cash is back to full training. He’s travelling with us to Newcastle. He’s available for selection.”
Anwar El Ghazi is also back in contention after recovering from a bruised toe that subsequently got infected and ruled him out of the stalemate with Wolves.