Aston Villa boss Dean Smith handed injury boost as four stars set to return

Aston Villa could have four key players back in the reckoning for the crunch clash with Newcastle on October 25.

Star man Jack Grealish is expected to resume full training in the next couple of days after missing two games with a calf injury.

Defender Matt Targett is also expected to be available after being withdrawn against Wolves with a concussion.

Keeper Tom Heaton who had to pull out of the England squad with a calf injury is also expected to be ready for the visit of The Geordies along with defender Bjorn Engels who was a late pull-out for Sunday's game with Wolves after getting a knock on his hip in training.

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Villa went into the international break off the back of three tough defeats, with manager Dean Smith branding the final loss at Wolves as “very poor”.

"That’s as bad a first 45 minutes I’ve had since Wigan away last year. Very poor, didn’t start,” Smith said.

"It appeared the game was bigger for them than it was for us, we didn’t win any balls, duels, didn’t pass it well.

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“The best thing I got out of the first half was it was only 1-0 at half-time.”

Villa take on Newcastle after the break, and in a bid to turn around their form, the former Brentford boss is off to Scotland for a “masterclass” in management to expand his knowledge.

Smith said this week on Villa’s YouTube channel: “I’ll do some performance reviews with the staff on how to improve and set some more targets for them.

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“I’ll also go away, I’m going away for a few days to Scotland for some CPD (Continuing Professional Development) myself. I’ll go and mix with some other managers, listen to some people talk to expand my knowledge.

“The LMA are wonderful at putting on masterclasses for managers, one of them will be managing up and managing the modern player and how to improve them individually and collectively. All that kind of stuff is really important for me to continue learning.

“From November to February is a long time, there’s a lot of games. So it’s important we get a good break in this November period and we’ll make sure we come out right against Newcastle.”

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