What’s the word?
As revealed by reliable Birmingham Mail reporter Ashley Preece, the Midlands outfit will be able to call upon winger Anwar El Ghazi and striker Keinan Davis on Saturday as both have made their return to training in recent days.
“Anwar El Ghazi back amongst the first-team at Bodymoor Heath this week after missing Australia & France trips due to partner’s pregnancy. Keinan Davis also back in training after his latest hamstring setback,” he tweeted.
Will Villa get three points at Bournemouth?
Timely boost for Gerrard
Whilst neither are expected to start on Saturday afternoon down at Dean Court, having them available is certainly a boost as it bolsters Steven Gerrard’s bench options.
El Ghazi has been absent for much of pre-season but is perhaps one of the few players who can play on the left flank – 12 of his 14 appearances for both Villa and loan club Everton came on that side last term.
On his day, he is a solid enough candidate, too.
Only a season before, he bagged ten goals across 28 top-flight appearances under Dean Smith, including a pair of strikes against Chelsea, as per Transfermarkt.
“I’ve played with him and played against him. In training, he can be unstoppable,” once claimed former teammate Alan Hutton to Football Insider. “In games, I’m watching him thinking, do that, take them on, go forward. You’re urging him to do it because you know he can do it.”
If Gerrard can get the Dutchman back to that kind of form, then he’ll have a very astute alternative on his hands, so his availability this weekend is certainly a plus, particularly with top-flight teams now able to call upon five substitutes within a match.
Meanwhile, Davis adds a new dimension to the attack and whilst he’s unlikely to usurp either of Danny Ings or Ollie Watkins anytime soon, he’s a presence that’s there in case of injury or late on if chasing a game.
Once lauded as “absolutely unplayable” by former teammate Jack Grealish, the Bodymoor Heath graduate is another bonus to have in the squad heading into the weekend.
It’s great news for Gerrard as he will be looking to kickstart the new campaign with three points against the Premier League newcomers.