Steven Gerrard delivers Countinho fitness update ahead of Newcastle United clash


Aston Villa could be without three key players for this weekend’s crucial Premier League clash this weekend.

Newcastle welcome Steven Gerrard’s resurgent side to Tyneside looking to capitalise on the current feel-good factor at St James’ Park by winning their third game in a row.

However, Villa will provide a stern test for the Magpies, with the former Liverpool captain steadying the ship and dragging them well clear of the relegation zone since taking over the reins in November.

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One man who will not feature is defender Ezri Konsa as he was foolishly sent off for a second yellow card in the dying embers of Villa’s 3-3 thriller with Leeds.

The Villans could also be without summer signing Emiliano Buendia after he hobbled off on Wednesday with a knock.

“He’s received a bang so it’s a knock and it’s an impact injury,” Gerrard told BT Sport after the game.

“He’s obviously very sore at the moment but, if he’s telling the truth, I’d rather have an impact bang rather than a muscle situation.

“I’m hoping it’s going to be days rather than weeks and, hopefully, we can get him ready for the weekend.

“He was obviously struggling with it.

“He wanted to carry on and I admire that but it was clear that we had to make a change. We’ll try and get him ready for the weekend.”

Another player who had to be taken off was Brazilian superstar Phillipe Coutinho.

The playmaker was in fine form for Villa last night, scoring the equaliser before setting up youngster Jacob Ramsey for both his first-half strikes.

Unluckily for Newcastle fans, Gerrard revealed that his substitution was due to fatigue and he expects the maverick to be fit for Sunday.

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He added: “It was just a bit of tiredness.

“He had a bit of cramp in a few areas. As I say, we’re still working on his physical condition. He’s getting better and better, and stronger.

“That was just precaution with cramp. He was running out of energy. He gave a lot to the game like a lot of the players did.

“There’s no issues and I’m sure, with a couple of days of recovery, he’ll be OK for the weekend as well.”

Villa winger Leon Bailey – who has been out since December with a thigh injury – remains sidelined.

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