After enjoying a superb start to life at Aston Villa, it was particularly galling to see Ross Barkley having to limp off after the opening moments of the defeat to Brighton with a suspected injury.

Now, The Express and Star have revealed that the England international is set to miss the next two weeks of action with that hamstring issue, and that whilst it isn’t too serious, he is now expected to sit out the games against West Ham and Newcastle – at the moment, the Midlands derby against Wolves at Molineux on December 12 is penciled in as being Barkley’s earliest possible return date.

Until then, Smith will have to look within his squad for a potential replacement, and he’ll be scratching his head at the lack of true options he has in that number ten role.

He could move Jack Grealish inside as a stop-gap for now, and that would open up a role out wide. If so, if the Villa boss were to move Trezeguet to the left-hand side where he has played for the majority of his career, then it could give Bertrand Traore the chance to finally show his worth.

Since arriving from Lyon in the summer, the Burkina Faso international has struggled to get consistent game-time, and has only shown flashes of the “immense talent” that Smith hailed him for.

He did however pick up a beauty of an assist for Ezri Konsa’s goal at the weekend after coming on as Barkley’s replacement, and whilst Villa may have ended up slipping to a defeat, Traore on a more personal note may have seen his confidence restored.

That could be huge for a Villa side who are no doubt desperate to get back to winning ways as soon as possible. It could be the kind of game-changing introduction that gets the club’s summer signing firing on all cylinders.

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Source: Football – Football Fan Cast