Aston Villa forward Leon Bailey has been dealt a blow after picking up another injury in the win over Norwich City on Saturday.
Speaking in his post-match press conference following the 2-0 victory over Dean Smith’s side, manager Steven Gerrard revealed that the Jamaican speedster faces a race to be fit for next week’s trip to Turf Moor, having been withdrawn just 40 minutes into the clash with the Canaries.
Asked about the summer signing’s status, the Villa boss said: “It’s an ankle issue. In terms of the extent and the damage I’m sure he’ll be MRI scanned in the next 24 to 48 hours. I’m really disappointed and frustrated for him because he’s worked really hard to get back, he’s been training ever so well.”
The Englishman then went on to add: “He said there was a bit of a twist after the contact so we’ll get him looked at. He’s obviously going to be a major doubt for the next game against Burnley because it’s very rare that you come off the pitch and you’re available for the next game, so we are concerned about it.”
That frustration for all concerned stems from the fact that it has been a disrupted debut campaign for the 24-year-old since his £25m move from Bayer Leverkusen, having been restricted to just seven Premier League starts for the Midlands side.
The £27m-rated man had missed a fair portion of the season over the festive period with a thigh injury, although since his return to action in February he has failed to nail down a regular starting berth, despite the club’s inconsistent form.
He had arrived last summer with a big reputation after providing 65 goal contributions in 156 games in all competitions for the Bundesliga side, although has since chipped in with just one goal and two assists in the top-flight during his brief stint at Villa Park.
Nevertheless, he had begun to show signs of life in his recent outings, notably going close to scoring early on in Saturday’s win, only to be denied by a fine save from opposition stopper Tim Krul, while Birmingham Mail writer John Townley wrote that he looked “lively in spells” prior to his withdrawal.
With Gerrard’s men still not certain of survival – despite reaching the ‘magic’ 40 point mark with that latest victory – they are still in need of all the help they can get, with Bailey’s potential absence in the coming weeks far from an ideal situation.
Yes, it has not gone to plan so far, but there is certainly an immense talent in there somewhere, with his former coach Heiko Herrlich previously suggesting that he “can do anything” such is his undoubted quality.
He looked as if he had begun to build some rhythm in recent weeks, although this latest setback is set to be a huge blow for both his manager, the supporters and the player himself.