Sheffield United are warned they will face a much-improved Aston Villa when the Premier League returns to action this month
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Together with Jack Grealish, the Scotland international had been one of Villa’s most effective performers this term and his recovery has been described as a major boost to the club’s hopes of avoiding relegation.
“Ginny is a great player and he has such an infectious personality that when he isn’t around the team, it does make a big difference,” Tyrone Mings, the Villa defender, said. “I think he is one of the players who, when they are on the team sheet, it affects the mindset of the opposition.
“He is certainly one of those players for us, because he brings so much on and off the pitch. It will be good to have him back, for sure.”
Although McGinn’s importance is not reflected in the statistics - Villa have won 33 per cent of all their games so far this term, compared to 30 per cent when he featured - the 25-year-old’s presence will certainly lift the spirits of Smith’s side.
Villa also hope the break in competition - announced when the Covid-19 pandemic reached these shores in March - can allow them to rewrite the form book, having failed to win a PL fixture since January 21. That sequence of results had seen the slip to 19th - two points from safety - while United, unbeaten in six, were only five outside the Champions League qualification positions when the blanket postponements were announced.
Although that momentum has now been lost, Wilder believes his players can pick up where they left off after studying their mental as well as physical shape following last week’s return to contact training.
United beat Villa 2-0 at Bramall Lane in December.