By Kevin Phillips

19th Feb, 2021 | 8:30pm

Phillips: Aston Villa have been hit by 'massive blow' after Matty Cash update

Aston Villa are significantly weakened by Matty Cash’s injury and opposition are set to target his stand-in Ahmed Elmohamady at right-back.

That is according to ex-Premier League goalscorer Kevin Phillips, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after manager Dean Smith revealed that the 23-year-old would be out of action for several weeks with a hamstring injury.

Cash signed from Nottingham Forest for £16million in September and has won admirers aplenty for his energy, tackling and positional sense.

He has started all but one of Villa’s 22 Premier League games this seasons and supporters are concerned about a drop-off in quality as Elmohamady comes into the side.

Phillips claims that fans are right to be concerned with the loss of Cash who has been outstanding since joining Villa and that Elmohamady is simply not at the same level.

He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “Matty Cash has been one of the buys of the season. He’s been sensational for Villa.

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“They’ve all been brilliant, but he has particularly. I kind of put a question mark over him when he arrived, I wasn’t sure that he’d perform to the level he has done.

“It’s a massive blow for Dean Smith, but these things happen. It’s a chance for someone else to come in and Elmohamady has played that role for quite a few years now, he knows it. But he isn’t as defensively-minded as Matty Cash.

“That’s probably an area now that teams coming up against Villa are going to target, down that side.”

Elmohamady played the last half-an-hour after Cash was forced to withdraw in the 0-0 draw with Brighton on Saturday.

The 33-year-old has started just once in the Premier League this season when Cash was briefly absent for a 0-0 draw against Burnley in December.

In other news, a former Aston Villa hero has tipped youngster Jacob Ramsey for a Championship move.