The re­turn of the Je­d­i­nak is get­ting closer

Birmingham Post - - SPORT -

MILE Je­d­i­nak is edg­ing closer to a first-team re­turn for Villa and will be fur­ther as­sessed be­fore the week­end.

The 33-year-old sat out Aus­tralia’s World Cup play-off with Syria on Tues­day in an at­tempt to clear up a long­stand­ing groin prob­lem.

He will be checked out be­fore Villa’s trip to Wolves to see whether he has re­cov­ered in time for Saturday’s huge Cham­pi­onship clash.

“He was not quite right so I think com­mon sense pre­vailed,” Villa boss Steve Bruce said about the col­lec­tive de­ci­sion for Je­d­i­nak to miss the in­ter­na­tional pro­gramme.

“Rather than fly­ing him all around the world, he stayed here. He is mak­ing big strides.”

Whether those strides are big enough to have him in con­tention for Saturday is an­other mat­ter.

Je­d­i­nak stayed in the Mid­lands to help speed up his re­cov­ery and Bruce is hope­ful he will re­turn.

The boss iden­ti­fied Je­d­i­nak as one of the key per­form­ers last sea­son but a frus­trat­ing six-month pe­riod has seen him side­lined for large spells. The mid­fielder went un­der the knife in the sum­mer to help heal his groin prob­lem and sub­se­quently missed the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup.

He re­turned in Au­gust and played 45 min­utes against Mid­dles­brough but was ruled out again soon after.

Whether Villa have re­ally missed him so far this sea­son is open to de­bate, how­ever.

In truth, they aren’t far off where they would have hoped to be at this stage of the cam­paign and with Glenn Whe­lan and Conor Houri­hane hold­ing down the cen­tral spots dur­ing an eight-game un­beaten run, Je­d­i­nak would have strug­gled to make more of an im­pact any­way.

Bruce is al­ready strug­gling to give Josh Onomah the game-time he would have hoped for when he ar­rived from Spurs – and that’s with­out men­tion­ing Henri Lans­bury and Cal­lum O’Hare.

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