Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has provided an update on the fitness of defender Micah Richards, as reported by The Mirror.

The 30-year-old hasn’t featured for the Villains’ first-team in a competitive fixture since October 2016 and Smith has spoken out about his lengthy absence:

“Micah trained with us on Monday morning. He’s not played for a long time so he’s not near fitness to be in contention at all at the moment.

“But we’ll see how his fitness builds over the next month or two.

“He’s been on a special programme, the training minutes he hasn’t had so far. We’ll see how his body adapts to those training minutes as we go.”

A Premier League and FA Cup winner with Manchester City, Richards was frozen out of the first-team picture at Villa Park by Steve Bruce. However, following Bruce’s dismissal, many supporters will have been intrigued to see how Richards’ situation develops.

Newly-appointed Smith didn’t rule out a return for the former Fiorentina loanee in the future, but his physical condition may see him sidelined for even longer.

In the meantime, the Villa boss will be looking to bolster his defensive ranks and veteran defender James Collins has been training with the club.

The 35-year-old is a free agent, therefore would be able to join immediately and could provide a much-needed boost for a Villa side that have underwhelmed thus far.

They occupy fifteenth place in the Championship table, four points adrift of sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday.

Smith will face his first test as manager on Saturday when Swansea City visit the Midlands.


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