Dean Smith says Aston Villa striker Wesley’s recovery from injury will ramp up next week.

At his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash against Brighton this weekend, Smith was asked about the hitman.

Wesley arrived as Villa’s big striking hope for their first season back in the Premier League.

But he struggled for form before his serious injury against Burnley on New Year’s Day 2020 and will now battle Ollie Watkins in attack upon his return.

Burnley FC v Aston Villa - Premier League
(Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

“This football club won the league in 1980-81 with only 14 players playing 42 games. We don’t play as many games now, but it is a more congested fixture list.

“We’ve got a healthier squad to use. I’ve still not seen players carried from the pitch with exhaustion and I’ve not had too many of my players complaining.

 

“Everyone came through the week fit, so it’s an unchanged squad going into the game. Wesley’s had some manipulation on his knee, which has certainly helped and he’ll be back on the training ground next week.

“The performance team have been excellent, and our players will be the first to applaud them for the way they’ve got them up and ready for each game.”

Aston Villa Training and Press Conference
(Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

There was too much pressure on Wesley when he first came in.

He was a big-money signing trying to adjust to life in a new country, with a different style of football as well as trying to spearhead Villa’s survival bid.

When he does return, he’ll find a more confident and well-rounded side.

Watkins is now the main man, but Wesley will hope to be an effective backup as the fixtures mount up.

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