Villa could have to wait until next season to have another go at getting back into the Premier League, according to former striker Garry Thompson. 

With talisman Jack Grealish sidelined through injury, the drawn out wait for his return means that Dean Smith’s side may as well turn their attentions to the 2019-20 campaign. 

Currently sitting ninth in the table, Villa are just four points off the playoff places, although a number of clubs above them hold a game in hand on the Midlanders. 

Sustaining a leg injury against West Brom at the start of December, the 23-year-old has been forced to watch on the last few months as his side have at times struggled to put results together. 

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Quoted by the Birmingham Mail, Thompson said: 

They are looking more and more like that [a one-man team],

Jack’s not playing. There is a lack of creativity. McGinn’s trying.

If Jack does come back when they say he is going to come back, he has got to hit the ground running and get results straight away.

Say he gets another knock or feels his way in for two or three game, which is likely to happen, he has been out for nearly two months. I think it’s gone [promotion] this season. I think you have to start planning for next season.

Grealish is tipped to return to action at some point before the end of February, and his recovery is something being closely monitored in large parts of Birmingham. 

Will Villa be promoted this season?