Samatta can face Leicester in EFL Cup, says Smith

MANAGER Dean Smith believes new Aston Villa signing Mbwana Samatta will be available for his side’s next match against Leicester City in the EFL Cup.

As per Birmingham Mail, Smith said Samatta is fine to play after clearance of his work permit, following his signing.

Samatta was brought in for just under £10m last week from KRC Genk of Belgium, as a direct replacement of injured main striker Wesley Moraes, who has been ruled out until the end of the season.

The Tanzanian striker trained for the first time with his new club Aston Villa on Thursday, at the club’s Bodymoor Heath Training Ground, located at Bodymoor Heath in the North Warwickshire district of Warwickshire, England and Dean was impressed with the Taifa Stars skipper’s fitness level.

Smith was asked yesterday whether the 27-year-old would be available for their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Leicester on Tuesday, to which he gave a positive response.

“We’ll see how he trains leading into the cup semi-final,” said Smith. “He has had his winter break with Genk, but he seems fit. “He has been doing some work at the hotel, while he has been waiting for all the paperwork. He has been given a fitness programme," he said.

Leicester might have expected to have the tie in the palm of their hands by now and did beat Villa 4-1 in the league meeting between the sides in September.

But they have suffered a slump lately and will take part in FA Cup action before playing Aston Villa, who have a weekend off ahead of the match.

Aston Villa managed to get a win over Watford without a proper striker offering a focal point and Samatta could offer them a boost which can get them over the line against a Foxes side who are not at their best at all.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa are not finished in the January transfer window as Dean Smith plots another move.

The Villans were the second biggest spenders in the Premier League in the summer as they parted ways with more than £144m in a bid to secure survival.

Dean Smith’s side have been forced to spend once again this after a string of recent injuries, with main striker Wesley ruled out until the end of the season.

“We are still looking to recruit another centre-forward as well.”

Their huge spend is yet to pay dividends for Villa in the table but they have climbed outside the bottom three following their 2-1 comeback win over Watford.

Tyrone Mings was credited with the late winner after Douglas Luiz cancelled out Troy Deeney's opener, with the Hornets dropping back into the relegation zone.

"It'll have to wait until the end of the season,” Smith said when asked just how important the three points were. “It's an important one because Villa Park is an important place for us. We've got to put in performances and get results. We deserved that today.

“It's quite apt that we scored in the 95th minute because there should have been 10 added minutes. “Watford came to kill the game and to get our supporters against us. It looked like their game plan.

“It worked the other way, our supporters got behind us even more knowing their slowing-down tactics.”

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Mwandishi: DAILY NEWS Reporter/Agencies

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