Dean Smith says Ross Barkley hamstring injury ‘not as bad as first feared’

Ross Barkley’s hamstring injury is not as bad as first feared, Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has revealed.

The Chelsea loanee is likely to be out until the middle of December after coming off in last week’s 2-1 defeat to Brighton.

He is likely to miss Villa’s next three games, starting with Monday’s Premier League trip to West Ham.

“Ross obviously got a hamstring injury against Brighton so he’s going to be out for two or three weeks. Nothing more than that, it’s not as bad as what we first feared,” Smith told a press conference.

“He’s done a week already, obviously. We signed Ross because he’s a quality player and if you have quality players come out of your team it’s going to affect you a little bit.

“Plus we’ve got nobody similar to Ross in terms of how he plays. So it will be a loss.

“But we won our first two games without Ross as well, so we certainly haven’t lost sight of that. We’re not going to rush him because we don’t want to lose him again.”

Villa go to West Ham on Monday aiming to maintain their 100 per cent away record which has helped lift them to seventh in the top flight ahead of the weekend.

They stunned Arsenal 3-0 earlier this month and have also won at Fulham and Leicester this season, with Smith’s side yet to concede on the road.

Frederic Guilbert has returned to training with Kortney Hause but Bjorn Engels (thigh) remains out along with Wesley and Tom Heaton (both knee).