Aston Villa travel to Brammall Lane to face Sheffield United on Wednesday but will still be without Kortney Hause as he’s recovering from an ankle injury. The 25-year-old has been out of action since early-January, missing Villa’s last nine Premier League games, but Dean Smith says he is nearing a return.

The Claret and Blues manager said in Tuesday’s pre-match press conference: “It was good to see (Matty Cash) out there (running on grass). The same with Kortney Hause who was out there running (on Monday).”

Hause has made seven appearances in all competitions this season, last featuring for Villa in December 2020 – a groin problem sidelined him in October and November and the ankle injury sidelined him in January and February   (Transfermarkt).

The central defender should return in March if he’s now running on grass, but he’s unlikely to get immediately back into the team as Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings have formed a formidable partnership, keeping five clean sheets this year alone.

Hause should eventually move ahead of Bjorn Engels in the pecking order, but he’ll be a backup option in case of injury.

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The 25-year-old did briefly impress when called upon earlier in the season, but his injury has caused him to fall down the pecking order. And while fans should see Hause in some capacity soon, appearances may be few and far between.