Championship outfit Aston Villa are currently on a remarkable run of eight straight victories. The purple patch has lifted Dean Smith’s men into firm contention for a place in the top-six.
One man who has been instrumental to the recent good form is John McGinn. The pocket rocket has netted eight goals and contributed 12 assists this season.
Of late he has worked up a superb sense of togetherness with the instrumental Jack Grealish. The duo have almost single-handedly transformed Villa’s campaign.
One thing that does creep into the ex-Hibs player’s game is cautions. The 24-year-old claimed yellow card number 13 during Saturday’s win over Bristol City.
In a worrying twist of events, McGinn could see himself ruled out of some of Villa’s play-off games. Two more yellows will see him serve a three-match ban for 15 cautions in the season.
That leaves boss Smith with some thinking to do in the coming weeks.
The obvious option is to take McGinn out of the firing line, get him rested up and ready for the play-off campaign. It seems very unlikely now that Villa will miss out.
It could hand a Villa lifeline to Henri Lansbury. The ex-Forest man has barely featured for the club this season through injury but did get on during Saturday’s win.
Lansbury has played just 33 games since joining Villa for £2.75 million (BBC Sport) in 2017. Smith must rate the player to be including him in matchday squads and that bodes well for the future.
McGinn’s caution situation makes it perfect sense for Smith to offer Lansbury a run in the team. He isn’t a novice and having played 150 times for Forest, he knows all about the Championship.
Villa can ill-afford to be without McGinn for their play-off matches and it would give Lansbury the chance to prove his worth at Villa Park.