Aston Villa boss Dean Smith is hoping that James Bree will return to first-team training this week following an injury lay-off, Vital Villa reports.

Bree has struggled for playing time at Villa this season but could soon return to action for the Midlands side if he can prove his fitness.

However, despite a return to training expected, it is believed that the club’s clash with West Bromwich Albion on Friday may come too soon for him to return to the squad.

The 21-year-old could possibly seek a loan move away from the club in the January transfer window due the lack of playing time he has earned this season, having made just five appearances for the club in all competitions. The last of those appearances was back in October.

However, it remains to be seen as to whether or not Villa will allow Bree to seal a loan move in January, as the left-back is also capable of standing in at centre-back, a position which Smith’s side are relatively short in this season.