Dean Smith is preparing his Aston Villa side to host Brighton on Saturday.

While the Villans boss waits for his international stars to return to the club, he offered an injury update on Englishmen Tom Heaton and Kortney Hause.

As per the club’s official website, both players are back in full training, with the latter taking part for the first time today (Wednesday).

The pair have a job on their hands to force their way back into a backline which has impressed so far this season as Villa sit sixth in the Premier League table.

Aston Villa v Stoke City - Carabao Cup Fourth Round
(Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images)

“Tom Heaton has played some minutes now,” said Smith. “He played against Burnley Under-23s and he played an in-house game that we had last week.

“He needs a few more minute but he’s training with the first team every day. Wesley Moraes is a bit behind but he’s starting to do some ball work and build up his strength.

 

“We’re trying to get him up to speed so that he can join in. Bjorn Engels has a thigh injury and he’s not trained with us yet, nor has Fred Guilbert who has a side strain. Kortney Hause should start back training today.”

As the fixtures mount up, Smith will need the full depth of his squad if Villa are to maintain their impressive start.

Burnley FC v Aston Villa - Premier League
(Rich Linley – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Heaton looks likely to be backup to the impressive Emi Martinez, having been bought to be first choice after Villa’s promotion.

That could be a hotly-contested battle for the number one spot – with both men capable of eye-catching saves.

Hause sits behind Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa in the central defensive pecking order, but his return may allow Smith to play three centre halves at times this season.

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