Aston Villa Injury News: Birkir Bjarnason faces late fitness test for Derby clash

Dean Smith is to make a late call on whether Birkir Bjarnason faces Derby on Saturday after his groin injury, according to reports in the Birmingham Mail.

What’s the latest?

Icelandic central midfielder Bjarnason has been sidelined for one match, missing the visit of Bolton to Villa Park after being forced off against Queens Park Rangers in the 41st minute previously.

The 30-year-old had featured in nine Championship games prior to his blow, playing in a range of midfield positions. Whilst starting in the centre of the field, Bjarnason netted both of his two goals for the campaign.

Aston Villa medical staff will now carry out a late fitness assessment on the player, who has been left sweating over another exclusion, according to the reports in the Birmingham Mail, just a fortnight before the latest instalment of the Second City derby.

Saturday’s fixture with the Rams takes on an additional bonus, too, for it will be the first time that former Villa-captain John Terry comes up against fellow Chelsea legend Frank Lampard.

Will Bjarnason slot straight back in?

Under Smith, the Icelandic international made the central midfield role his own when fit and available as an integral cog in the side through his versatility.

Bjarnason’s experience has also played a part in Villa’s fortunes turning around following the sacking of Steve Bruce, and he has been key for them given the club has lost just twice when he’s featured, while they have won just three of the eight games he has been on the sidelines.

The only issue for the 30-year-old is how well Conor Hourihane adapted to the game against Bolton alongside John McGinn, who has featured in 14 of the 16 Championship affairs so far.

If Bjarnason isn’t passed fit and the Republic of Ireland international starts and impresses again against the Rams, the Iceland international could be in danger of being frozen out.