Aston Villa will look to move within a point of the Championship play-off places on Friday evening when they play host to Sheffield United at Villa Park, and they could have a defender back for the encounter.

The Blades head to Birmingham with plenty of incentives to produce the goods themselves, as a victory over the Villans will see them move top of the table in the second tier ahead of Saturday’s matches.

Dean Smith’s side will have their work cut out to pick up the win they seek desperately to get themselves right back into the promotion picture, but Villa could be helped by the return of their captain James Chester.

The reliable central defender was one of four players who were under an injury cloud heading into the match. His Villans teammates Jack Grealish, Henri Lansbury and Andre Green make up the quartet.

Smith provided an update on his important Villa men when he addressed the media leading up to the clash with the Blades, and suggested Chester could be available, but the other three are likely to miss out.

“He’s trained a couple of days this week. What we will do is have a look in the morning – we’ll have a look at how he is and take it from there.” The Villans official website quotes him as saying.

“Jack wants to come back as soon as possible, like we all want him to.

“But it was a very serious injury – a bone-stress. We had to make sure he was wrapped in cotton wool a little bit.

“He’s back out on the grass now. He was a bit disappointed I didn’t go over and watch his session yesterday so I went over and watched today. He’s shown me he can strike a ball and run.

“So it’s now about how much load he can tolerate in training and how close his fitness puts him to the matchday squad.

“Obviously when you lose what I believe is the best player in the league, it’s going to affect you.

“Andre is back. He’s trained with us all week. He’s back from a hamstring injury.”

“Henri is not quite there yet. He’s still with the medical staff. I haven’t really got a timeframe with him.”

Villa head into the contest having won just one of their last six matches in the Championship. That is a sequence of results which will need to end quickly if they are to push for the chance to regain their Premier League status.

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