Chester edging closer to Villa return
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith hopes James Chester will be able to return to training during the international break.
Chester sustained a hamstring injury in pre-season and is yet to feature for Villa in the Premier League this term.
The 30-year-old last played in a competitive game for Villa in January and missed the latter half of last season’s successful promotion push due to a knee injury.
Chester did return fit for pre-season, but sustained a hamstring injury in a 1-0 friendly win over League One Shrewsbury Town.
Smith didn’t offer a timescale on a return to action for the centre-half but he is hopeful Chester will be able to resume training before their next Premier League fixture.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) September 3, 2019
Villa are next in action when they take on West Ham at Villa Park on September 16.
“It has been a frustrating one with his hamstring injury but I am hoping he will be back in training during the international break,” said Smith, as reported by the Express & Star.
Chester sustained a knee injury in November while playing for Wales but played on through the pain due to a defensive crisis at Villa Park.
The former Hull and West Brom star said he felt it was his “duty” to continue playing for Villa but says he has damaged his body “indefinitely” as a result, and will have to manage those issues for the remainder of his career.
However, Chester stressed earlier this summer he has no intention of calling time on his international career with Wales to prolong his stay in club football.
“With the rest I’ve had since the end of January, the injury has improved an awful lot. I’m not dealing with any pain at the moment. That’s a huge bonus but with the type of injury it is it will need monitoring and perhaps I won’t train as much as I always have done, to prolong my career,” he told the BBC over the summer.
“Since I made my debut for Wales, I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m confident if I can get myself fit without pain, I can continue to play.”
Chester will face a fight to force his way back into the Villa starting XI when he does return to fitness as Tyrone Mings and Bjorn Engels have impressed at the heart of defence.
Ezri Konsa and Kortney Hause are also options for Dean Smith, although Chester’s return would still provide a welcome boost.