By Paul Robinson

25th Feb, 2020 | 12:08pm

'Huge' - Exclusive: Robinson claims Smith may axe Villa mainstay v Man City after recent sight

Paul Robinson believes Aston Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi will be left out of the squad for the League Cup final after picking up an injury against Southampton.

The former Leeds and England star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says he expects Dean Smith not to take any unnecessary risks in Sunday’s trip to Wembley as they battle for survival in the Premier League.

The 24-year-old, who has been a mainstay for Smith this season, took a hit to the face in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to the Saints, coming off after just 28 minutes.

Robinson says that with the Villans struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League table, the manager may not take any risks for Sunday’s tie against Manchester City, leaving El Ghazi facing the axe.

“I think Dean Smith’s priorities will be slightly changing after the result at the weekend,” Robinson told Football Insider.

“It’ll be a huge day out for Aston Villa and huge occasion in the cup final but I can almost guarantee Smith would swap a cup final for Premier League survival. Any player, including El Ghazi, who’s carrying any kind of injury or key player he’d look to call on for the rest of the season, won’t be risked.

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“I don’t for one minute think he’ll put a weakened team out or make wholesale changes but I think anyone who’s carrying any kind of injury, they won’t be risked.” 

El Ghazi has played 29 times for Villa this season, with six goals and six assists under his belt across all competitions.

He signed for the club permanently last summer, having helped the club secure promotion from the Championship while on loan from Lille.

In other Aston Villa news, it can be REVEALED that the club have set their sights on signing a colossus from a London club.