Getting Ross Barkley back to fitness will be a “massive” boost for Aston Villa, according to Alan Hutton.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Villa favourite admitted the Chelsea loanee was sorely missed in the defeats against both Brighton and West Ham.
The Mirror report that Dean Smith is expecting to have the 26-year-old back available for the Midlands derby against Wolves next week after missing the 2-1 defeat to the Irons.
As quoted by BT Sport last week, the Villa boss confirmed Barkley’s injury was not as bad as first feared and that he would be out for “two to three” weeks from the Brighton game on November 21.
Hutton admitted the impact of the attacking midfielder’s absence was glaringly obvious and that it would be huge to get him back against Nuno Espirito Santo’s men.
Hutton told Football Insider: “He’s a massive miss, and I go back to the Brighton game – going off so early, you could see that he was missed in that game, all the pressure was then back on Jack (Grealish) to go and produce something.
“Then, obviously, on Monday night, he’s definitely got that ability to cut through defences, see passes and he complements the likes of Jack and John McGinn and people like that.
“He was a massive miss, although Conor (Hourihane) did come in and do well, I think Barkley just gives you that little bit extra going forward in the midfield.”
With Villa’s game against Newcastle United being postponed, Barkley could miss just one game due to his injury blow.
He started six consecutive games for Villa following his temporary switch from Chelsea and has chipped in with one goal and one assist.
In other Aston Villa news, Hutton left tearing his hair out over speed machine letting the team down.