By Alan Hutton

17th Dec, 2020 | 10:48am

Pundit Exclusive: 3-times Villa sub tipped to make first PL start of season tonight

Alan Hutton has tipped Ahmed Elmohamady to make his first Premier League start of the season for Aston Villa against Burnley with Matty Cash suspended.

The former Villa and Scotland defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has admitted the summer signing will be sorely missed versus the Clarets and that his old teammate is likely to fill the void.

Cash will be unavailable on Thursday evening after he picked up his fifth top-flight booking of the season in the 1-0 win over Wolves.

The former Nottingham Forest man has started all 10 of Villa’s Premier League fixtures, meaning someone new will have to fill in for Burnley’s visit to Villa Park.

Hutton has tipped 33-year-old Elmohamady to step in for Dean Smith in what could be his third top-flight appearance – but first start – of the season.

I think it’s gonna be a case of somebody’s going to come and just to cover that position for the one game,” Hutton told Football Insider.

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“I think Matty Cash has been a tremendous signing and his energy levels are through the roof. He loves a tackle, he wins most of them, he delivers in the box – I think he ticks all the boxes.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Dean Smith is really happy with that signing and so it’s going to be a case of maybe Elmo coming in just to cover him for that one game because he’s a key part of the team.”

Elmohamady has featured as a substitute against Liverpool, Southampton and West Ham in the Premier League season, with just 35 minutes under his belt.

He did start and play every minute of all three of the Villans’ League Cup games as Smith’s men were knocked out at the fourth round by Stoke City.

In other news, Smith has got an impossible task as Aston Villa “inspiration” also ruled out of action, according to Alex McLeish.