Smith delivers Villa injury update

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Newcastle United wouldn’t have wanted the international break to arrive after their end to the last period of the Premier League.

The Magpies nearly broke into the top half of the table after impressive back-to-back wins against both West Ham United and Bournemouth.

Those two victories left Steve Bruce’s men only two points behind Sheffield United who currently sit in fifth place, so a game against promoted side Aston Villa will give them an opportunity to jump into the European qualification spots, although it would take a lot of things to go their way.

Dean Smith’s side will not be an easy team to go up against after the break, and the Villa boss has delivered an early injury update before the clash.

The Express and Star reported that Smith is hopeful that Tom Heaton and Bjorn Engels will return for the game at Villa Park a week on Monday.

Villa could also see Jack Grealish and Matt Targett return after the defender was forced off in their recent 2-1 defeat against Wolves at Molineux.

The inconclusive update on their players could give Newcastle a big boost in the Midlands, as their absences against their rivals recently proved that they would all be massively missed.

Jed Steer also left the field in that game, so that would leave Smith with his first-two keeper choices unavailable should Heaton not be ready after the break.

Although Grealish is suggested to be nearing a return for Villa, that shouldn’t be enough to cover the cracks and should they be forced to utilise their replacements they could struggle once again like they did last time out.

After Smith’s inconclusiveness surrounding the injuries, it could be a massive boost for Newcastle before their trip to Villa Park as they could come up against a weakened side in the Midlands.

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