Alan Hutton has admitted he is still nervous about a lack of back-up for Ollie Watkins at Aston Villa despite Wesley stepping up his recovery from injury.
The former Villa and Scotland star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, revealed he has heard the Brazilian striker is into the final stages of his comeback process after over a year out of action.
The 24-year-old suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament on New Year’s Day in 2019, with Mbwanna Samatta signed last January to help cover his loss.
Dean Smith then broke the Villans’ transfer record to sign Watkins from Brentford last summer after Samatta’s exit.
Now Hutton, who is still in close contact with his former Villa teammates, believes it will not be too long before his old boss has another striker to call upon in the shape of Wesley.
Asked if he had heard anything about the 24-year-old’s status, Hutton told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “Well I know he’s out on the grass now so that’s kind of like the last bit.
“Obviously you do all your gym work and then you start going out on the grass, doing little bits then you start upping it week by week so I think he’s doing well, how long it’s going to be, I’m not sure.
“I think it was quite a bad knee injury so you always have to be wary of that.”
With the Brazilian still out of action, Dean Smith has had to rely on Keinan Davis as an alternative to Watkins – an issue Hutton believes needs addressing in the summer window.
“It’s probably the one situation where you think well if he (Watkins) was to be missing, who’s coming in? Who’s going to live up to his levels?” Hutton said.
“It’s a difficult one, I think that’s the progression, looking at Villa from afar.
“Yes, they’ve got a strong starting 11 and then 12th, 13th player, but if you really need to make changes and take it to the next level, it’s probably about bulking out that squad a little bit and adding that competition for places.”