Former Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton believes the return of John McGinn from an ankle fracture should boost the Villain’s prospects of staying in the Premier League. The west Midlands outfit are currently placed ninth on the table with 25 points but they are only a couple of points adrift of safety with a game in hand over Sheffield United.

They have the chance to jump out of the drop zone when the season resumes after the coronavirus shutdown this month and Hutton believes the return of McGinn should help their aim of doing so, he told Football Insider: “I think he’ll be very close, he’s full training now – the only thing is he missed a lot of football before the March shutdown. Whether the manager sees him as able enough to go straight back in, we’ll have to wait and see but I know he’s desperate, absolutely desperate and he feels he’s ready to go.

“That will be a decision down to the manager but I think, myself included, all the fans are desperate to see him out on the pitch because he brings so much to the team and it’s what they’ve been missing, they’ve been missing John McGinn. When he was out injured, you could tell they missed him, so to have him back would be a massive boost.”

McGinn has played every minute for the Villains until he suffered the ankle injury in December. He was able to register three goal and two assists from 18 appearances and the club will be hoping that he can make more contributions during the final nine games of the season. It is unclear whether he will be able to find his form after an extended layoff but the club need all the help that they can get, particularly with Wesley ruled out for the remainder of the season after the knee ligament injury suffered on New Year’s Day.

The west Midlands outfit will resume their Premier League campaign on June 17 with their game in hand against Sheffield United. In the same day, Arsenal are scheduled to face Manchester City. Their encounter was cancelled in early March after the Gunners squad came in contact with the Olympiacos owner, who had contracted the COVID-19 virus.