Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has provided a positive update on the fitness of John McGinn ahead of the club’s Premier League clash against Leicester City on the road. The Scotland international has been out of action since the ankle fracture sustained in December last year but he is expected to make a comeback for the closing phase of the season.

Speaking in a press conference, Smith confirmed that the versatile midfielder has been working with the physios and he is close to resuming regular training, he told: “He’s nearer. We haven’t had him in contact (training) yet but he’s been involved in possession sessions and some shape work as well. He is certainly getting to where we want him to be and he feels really good, which is the important thing. He’ll be pushing me for Chelsea, that’s for sure.”

The west Midlands outfit are scheduled to face Leicester City on the road on Monday night and the game presents them with the chance to jump outside of the relegation places with a victory. Even if they don’t, Smith’s side will have another game in hand against Newcastle United and that could prove crucial to their prospects of beating the drop from the Premier League.

Villa have won just one of the previous nine league matches and their poor run of form has dropped them to 19th on the table. McGinn, Jack Grealish and Wesley were among the key contributors in the attack during the first half of the season but the latter unfortunately picked up a knee injury which has ruled him out for the campaign.

As such, Grealish has often proved the sole creative outlet over the past few months but the club’s faithful will be hoping that McGinn can return at the earliest possibility and help the team to preserve their top-flight status for next season.