Idrissa Gana, Jack Grealish and Adama Traore are all fitness doubts ahead of Aston Villa’s trip to Leicester City on Sunday, manager Tim Sherwood has confirmed during Thursday’s pre-match press conference.
Gana suffered a hamstring injury while playing for Senegal in last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Namibia and missed the following African Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa as a result.
The £9 million summer signing, who has been an ever-present in the Premier League so far this season, is now facing a race against time to make the Foxes clash and Sherwood admits that his potential absence would be a big blow.
“Idrissa picked up an injury playing for Senegal, which is disappointing,” he told the press. “He was the one player we didn’t want to lose because he’s playing so well.
“He picked up a hamstring injury in the 75th minute of the game so I’m hoping that it’s just fatigue. Normally when you pull a hamstring it’s early in the game.
“The physio’s are assessing him so if it is fatigue, he’s got a chance. He’s a tough guy. When we cut him, I think wires come out of him so we’ve got a chance!”
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Continuing on the former Lille midfielder’s start to life at Villa, Sherwood added: “He loves the hustle and bustle and the physical side of the game. He’s a huge presence and a driving force.
‘When you walk past him in the corridor you might not think he has the physical presence, but he looks huge out there on the pitch and a driving force. He changes size when he’s on the pitch. He’s a driving force.”
Meanwhile, promising duo Grealish and Traore are close to returning from their respective injuries but Sherwood is still unsure whether the pair will be available for the weekend.
Traore has been dealing with calf and ankle problems since being forced off in last month’s 5-3 Capital One Cup victory over Notts County, in which he scored his first goal for the club, while Grealish subsequently turned his ankle in training ahead of the following 2-2 league draw with Sunderland.
The latter is a better bet to feature against Leicester than his fellow wide man at this point but Sherwood believes there is still a chance that both could be involved.
“Jack and Adama are making progress,” he said. “Jack is closer than Adama. We’re not sure if they are going to be fit at this minute. We are monitoring them day by day. We are treating the injuries.
“Adama got kicked on the calf and injured his ankle at the same time. The kick on the calf has improved, that’s no problem, it’s just that the ankle is still a bit of a problem.
“We will give them every opportunity to be ready for the next game.”