By Jonty Banks

19th Feb, 2023 | 12:00pm

View: Emily Gielnik is ready to rediscover goal trail for Aston Villa Women after injury return

A return to first-team action has been a long time coming for Australian forward Emily Gielnik at Aston Villa, but after recovering from her latest calf injury, she is ready to compete for regular first-team action.

Gielnik, 30, has been battling a number of troublesome injuries in recent months but has returned to action for Carla Ward in the last few weeks and is currently on International duty at the 2023 Cup of Nations.

After moving to the West Midlands from Vittsjo GIK in the summer of 20021 and taking up the No.9 jersey, there were high expectations of the forward at the club.

After arriving at Villa Park with a wealth of domestic and International experience, there was hope that Gielnik would be the missing piece of the puzzle as Villa attempted to progress her side up the WSL table. However, after a hit-and-miss opening season at the club, she was then further derailed by a number of ill-timed injuries.

Speaking to Football Australia (15 February) about her stint on the sidelines, she said: “I had an unfortunate sequence of back-to-back calf injuries and I’ve finally regrouped from this last one.

“It has been a long, painful process; it was not something that I ever thought I’d go through as I believed that my calves were as strong as an ox. Finally, I’m through that rehab stage and I’ve been building with Aston Villa with back-to-back minutes.

“I’m grinding it out, I’m slowly getting those minutes. For me, it is just important to keep working hard in training and building those minutes when they do come at the weekend.”

Although Villa have been graced with the goal phenomenon of Rachel Daly this season, the club will certainly need other players to step up in her absence. The Lioness has scored 10 of Villa’s 23 goals this season, but can’t be expected to carry on this blistering form forever. Gielnik must therefore be ready to step up and impact games when required.

The Australian is likely to a bench player for the majority of the season, but when Villa can’t break the deadlock and require a fresh pair of legs, Gielnik is a very useful alternative for Villa to have up their sleeves.

A return of three goals from 17 appearances for the club may not read too well, but the 30-year-old is a brilliant option to enter the fray in the latter stages of this WSL season.

In other Aston Villa news, the club want to reunite with a former player for a fee in excess of £40million in the summer.