Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard will be without one of his standout performers since the 41-year-old’s arrival last month on Sunday as they host Midlands rivals Leicester City.
Speaking in his press conference, Gerrard confirmed that left-back Matt Targett will face a late fitness test before the Villa boss makes a decision on whether or not to include the 26-year-old against Leicester.
The 41-year-old said: “Matty Targett will probably struggle for this game, but we’ll make a late decision on him.”
The defender was taken off in the 67th minute during the Midlanders’ clash with Manchester City on Wednesday night due to a head injury and therefore faces a race against time to be available to face the Foxes.
Leon Bailey is a confirmed absentee for the game, with Gerrard also sweating on the fitness of Danny Ings (Birmingham Live) as Villa face the prospect of being without several valuable players this weekend.
Villa have been excellent during Gerrard’s short time at the helm, winning twice and losing narrowly to Manchester City. One of the key factors to the former Liverpool captain’s instant success has been the performances of Targett at left-back, who has been a standout performer in the last couple of games.
The 26-year-old was rated 8.1 by SofaScore in Gerrard’s first game, a 2-0 win over Brighton, and then scored the opener in their 2-1 triumph at Crystal Palace last week.
This is a stark contrast to his start to the campaign under former manager Dean Smith, where the defender’s performances were under par, particularly against Watford on the opening day as he was withdrawn at half-time after a tricky test against Ismalia Sarr.
Villa do have a natural replacement in Ashley Young, but the 36-year-old has started just one Premier League game at left-back this term, also being deployed as a winger and central midfielder on occasion.
It appears that Targett won’t beat the race against time to be fit for the Leicester clash, which is a significant blow to Gerrard, who will be gutted if he has to do without the 26-year-old. Villa fans shouldn’t panic though, as in Young they have a vastly experienced replacement to fill in at left-back.