By Sam Stone

14th Apr, 2023 | 7:10am

Unai Emery to unleash Bertrand Traore for Aston Villa v Newcastle United

It’s been a tough couple of months for Leon Bailey in an Aston Villa shirt and his latest injury could well be a blessing in disguise.

The 25-year-old was substituted during Villa’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest after sustaining a hamstring injury (Birmingham Live, 13 April).

It appears the Jamaican winger will now miss the Villans’ home fixture against Newcastle United and this isn’t a bad thing for Unai Emery.

Bailey’s form has certainly been patchy in recent times and a stint out of the team could give the winger time to reset and come back with a fresh approach.

The former Bayer Leverkusen star hasn’t hit the back of the net since the Villans’ 2-1 win over Leeds United and has failed to register a shot on target since the 4-2 defeat against Arsenal (Wyscout).

During that time, Bailey has had eight attempts on goal and failed to test the goalkeeper once. For an attacking player, this is grim reading.

The 25-year-old is a consistent livewire, but, at present, his output has not quite been at the level required – more goals and assists are needed.

His absence could well see Bertrand Traore come into the starting eleven and after his recent performances, this could well be a good thing.

The Burkina Faso international has two goals in his last two games and could well be an in-form replacement for Bailey.

Since returning to Villa Park, the wide man has had to settle for the odd substitute appearance but was called upon to feature for 71 minutes against Nottingham Forest.

During his extended cameo, Traore managed an XG (expected goals) of 0.44, one goal, 100 per cent dribble accuracy and four touches in the penalty area. What more could you want from a wide man?

It promises to be an extremely tough test against Eddie Howe’s side on Saturday (15 April) with the Magpies flying high and on a similar run of form to Villa.

The fixture will be an excellent marker to judge just how far they’ve come under the Spaniard. Newcastle will be relatively unaware of Traore’s ability; he only returned from his loan at Istanbul Başakşehir in January.

There’s a golden chance for the 27-year-old to stake a claim which could ease the blow of losing Bailey to injury.

In other Aston Villa news, we can exclusively reveal that Manchester United are set to sign this highly-rated Villa player.