Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has confirmed a major injury boost about Matty Cash ahead of his side’s Premier League game against Newcastle on Friday night.
The full-back has been out of action for the Midlands club after suffering a hamstring injury against Brighton last month, but is set to return to the side for the trip to St James’ Park.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game tonight, the Villa boss revealed: “Matt Cash is back to full training. He’s travelling with us to Newcastle. He’s available for selection.”
In his absence, veteran defender Ahmed Elmohamady has had to step into his shoes, with mixed effect.
His performance against Leicester saw him singled out by Smith for his part in one of the Foxes goals, but then delivered a huge statement to his manager with an impressive defensive display against Wolves last time out, shackling Adama Traore superbly.
Cash’s return is a massive relief for Smith, who knows his side have missed the right-back’s pace and energy down the flank, and he has arguably been Villa’s unsung hero this season.
As per Whoscored, the 23-year-old ranks top among all Villa players for tackles and interceptions made this season in the Premier League, averaging 2.6 and 2.3 respectively.
He isn’t just a reliable defender either, also contributing further forward too. He’s picked up two assists and sits in the top seven for key passes per game, and top five for crosses.
It’s no surprise that former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips has dubbed him “sensational“, while adding: “Cash has come in and he has been flawless. He has taken to the club like a duck to water. You have to give credit to the player and the recruitment department. They have obviously done their homework. He has been one of their shining lights this season.”
When Villa take on Newcastle tonight, the £65k-a-week earning Cash simply has to be one of the first-names on the team-sheet, and he could well be a game-changer for the Midlands side as they look to pick up some much-needed momentum after their recent stutters.