By Jonty Banks

22nd May, 2023 | 4:10pm

Tim Iroegbunam to get pre-season Aston Villa 'opportunity' under Unai Emery despite ill-timed injury news

We’re delighted to welcome former Aston Villa full-back Alan Hutton as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Villa Park

Tim Iroegbunam will be given a chance to stake his claim for an Aston Villa first-team spot by Unai Emery in pre-season, according to Alan Hutton.

Iroegbunam, 19, has enjoyed a standout loan at QPR this season, featuring 32 times in the Championship and helping the club avoid relegation with a string of strong performances under Gareth Ainsworth.

However, after the season’s close, the England Under-20 international shared an image of himself in a hospital bed, attached with the caption “Successful operation, recharge for 2023/34”.

It is yet to be seen how long Iroegbunam will remain on the Villa Park medical table, but speaking exclusively to Villa News, Hutton predicted that the midfielder, along with several other young players, would be given an opportunity to shine in pre-season.

“The position Aston Villa are in at this moment in time, they’re really chasing and it’s not really the time at this moment to be giving the youth players many opportunities,” he said.

“If they were sitting 10th, nothing to play for, then yeh, the likes of him [Iroegbunam] would probably be playing, but the time for these younger players under the new manager will be in pre-season.

“He will be trying to develop and mould the squad into what he wants and give everybody an opportunity to stake their claim, so it will be a big pre-season for Iroegbunam and some of the other younger boys.”

The futures of fellow academy graduates Cameron Archer, Aaron Ramsey and Finn Azaz are all still up in the air, while Kaine Kesler-Hayden and Louie Barry are likely to be sent on further loans this summer.

With further additions expected to the Aston Villa squad this summer and a transfer purse of £200million mooted, Ireogbunam faces an uphill struggle considering his most recent injury setback.

In other Aston Villa news, the future of this loanee hangs in the balance as contract talks await.