It will be “massive” for Aston Villa if Jack Grealish returns to full fitness in time for Saturday showdown against Wolves.
That is the view of former Villa and England striker Kevin Phillips, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Dean Smith remained coy over the 25-year-old’s fitness.
Smith told the press in his pre-match press conference Grealish was “doing better” but refused to confirm whether he will feature against Villa’s Midlands rivals.
The Athletic reported ahead of the Sheffield United game during the week that Villa hoped the England international would return for the derby.
Grealish has missed Villa’s last three Premier League games with a shin injury but no timescale has been put on his recovery.
Villa lost their games with Leicester City and bottom side Sheffield United without the forward but recorded a 1-0 win over Leeds United last weekend – their first league win without Grealish since their return to the Premier League last season.
Asked what it will mean to Smith and his players to have Grealish back, Phillips told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “Massive.
“They haven’t looked the same without him.
“Having him back in that side will give everyone a boost, all the player’s a boost. It will put the fear of god into the teams they’ve got to play.
“Of course it’s a huge boost for Dean Smith to have him back.”
Grealish has scored six goals and provided 12 assists in 22 Premier League games this season.
After narrowly avoiding relegation last season, he is on the verge of leading his boyhood club into Europe for the first time in a decade.