Aston Villa receive double boost for Leeds United clash as boss hails Ross Barkley impact

ASTON VILLA have received a double fitness boost ahead of Friday's hosting of Leeds United with Ross Barkley recovering from a knee issue and Keinan Davis back from a calf knock.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 12:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 12:28 pm

Villa boss Dean Smith revealed that Chelsea loanee Barkley was "touch and go" to start last weekend's clash at Leicester City due to a knee issue but the 26-year-old played the full match and netted a 91st-minute winner in a 1-0 victory.

Barkley then praised club doctor Ricky Shamji for his role in getting him ready and the Chelsea loanee has recovered well from his exertions at the King Power Stadium and is now set to start against Leeds.

In providing his team news ahead of Friday's 8pm kick-off, boss Smith also said that forward Davis was likely to be back available after a recent calf issue leaving Tom Heaton (knee), Kortney Hause (groin) and Wesley (knee) as the club's inly injury absentees.

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'TOP PLAYER': Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has hailed the impact of Chelsea loanee Ross Barkley, left, who is fit to start Friday night's clash against Leeds United after a recent knee issue. Photo by JON SUPER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

Asked if there were any new injuries at his pre-match press conference, Smith said: "No. I think Keenan should be back to fitness so he should be available for squad selection but still Courtney, Wesley and Tom Heaton will be out."

Reflecting on the impact of Barkley since arriving on loan, Smith said to avfc.co.uk: "He’s made a big impact. The fact that we’ve gone out and managed to entice that calibre of player into the squad has certainly gone down well in the dressing room and with our staff and fans as well.

"He’s a top player, who has been in and amongst the Champions League for the last two or three years of his career. He’s been a regular starter for England too.

"He’s not played the amount of minutes he’s wanted to (at Chelsea), and we’ve managed to get him to Aston Villa.

"His job now is to produce performances for Aston Villa that take the eye of Gareth Southgate and get him back into the England squad."

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Thank you Laura Collins