Aston Villa boss Dean Smith says that Ross Barkley could return to action next Thursday in the Premier League clash with Burnley.
However, the England midfielder will not play a part in Saturday’s clash with Wolves.
Barkley, who is on a season-long loan from Chelsea, picked up a hamstring issue in November’s defeat to Brighton.
“Ross it out still. He’s running now but this game will come too soon for him,” Smith told reporters at his press conference.
“Either next Thursday or Sunday [against West Brom] we’ll look at it but what we don’t want to do is miss him for too long so we don’t want to rush it.”
Villa will look to bounce back from successive Premier League defeats when they travel to Molinuex.
However, Smith admits that Wolves’ recent 4-0 defeat to Liverpool is not a true reflection of their talent.
“It’s always a concern that a team who very rarely gets beat by that margin will be smarting and looking forward to this game to put things right,” the manager added.
“They’re one of the teams in the league that are tough to beat. You look at their last few seasons in this league and they’ve been the team that all promoted sides are trying to emulate.
“They’ve lost some big players with [Diogo] Jota going to Liverpool and Raul Jimenez with the unfortunate head injury, but they’re still a very good team with some very good players.
“We need to concentrate on ourselves, though. In the last two games against Brighton and West Ham, we certainly deserved more with the performances we produced. Three games ago we beat Arsenal 3-0, so we’re not doing a lot wrong at the moment.”
Smith reacts to Barkley, Grealish incident
Meanwhile, Smith also moved to draw a line under the incident involving Barkley and captain Jack Grealish.
Villa reminded the pair of their responsibilities after they dined together in London to celebrate the former’s birthday.
Indeed, Barkley and Grealish live in Tier 2 areas around Birmingham. But travel outside of the area is restricted under coronavirus guidelines, as is meeting indoors with most other people.
Smith said: “The club put a statement out yesterday in the media after viewing the video sent to us and it has been dealt with, reminding the players of their responsibilities during what is tough times for everyone, and we have moved on.”
Both players avoided punishment from Villa.