With Villa having won both their final warm-up game against Manchester United (1-0) and then the midweek 2nd Round Carabao Cup game against Burton Albion (1-3), all attention now turns to the Premier League.
Villa sat out the first weekend of the domestic calendar owing to Manchester City’s European involvement, meaning that Dean Smith will have to wait until this Monday evening for Villa’s opening game.
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Bjorn Engels continues to be plagued by injury, with the Belgian having been unable to shake off an achilles complaint across the entire lockdown and restart period.
The 26 year old is now out with a thigh strain.
Engels, who on paper appears a perfect partner for Tyrone Mings, unfortunately cannot be relied upon to be availble as Villa head into a vital second Premier League campaign.
He also now finds himself facing the reality that Ezri Konsa, a relative rookie by comparison just a season ago, has now leapfrogged him in the pecking order. Indeed, Konsa and Mings will wear shirt numbers 4 and 5, with Kortney Hause appearing capable standby, whilst not a first choice.
Dean Smith will also be without both Tom Heaton and Wesley, who are both still recovering from serious knee injuries, coincidentally suffered at Burnley on New Years Day.
Heaton, who also finds himself replaced by former Arsenal ‘keeper Martinez, looks to be out until at least the 17th October. There is little clarity on the progress of the England international’s recuperation however, but as and when he does return to fitness he’ll need to oust Villa’s new Argentine stopper.
Finally, Wesley, who only returned to Birmingham from Brazil in recent days, also won’t feature against Sheffield United. There is also no clear return date for the former record signing, who will find himself in direct competition with Ollie Watkins once fit.
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