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Aston Villa 'ready and keen' to return to action

Aston Villa are "ready and keen" to get the season underway once it is "right to do so".

Manager Dean Smith feels his team - who last their last four league games before the campaign was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic - can use the long break to their advantage as they look to secure Premier League survival.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: "I feel when the season eventually begins again it will be a new season for us.

"I always said our second season would be better and unfortunately a pandemic has hit us.

"When we do restart it will be a second season and we will be better for that."

The Premier League remains hopeful of a return to action in the week beginning June 8 in order to complete the season by the end of JUly.

While this would mean full training needs to begin by May 18, a number of doctors at top flight clubs are concerned about the campaign being restarted with a risk of players contracting the virus.

Smith added: "We don't know if the lockdown will be eased, if the social distancing measures will be eased, so you are trying to talk to your staff to plan training sessions for when we are back in terms of how it might look with social distancing, how it might look without social distancing.

"The players are certainly ready and know what is expected of them when we are back at the training ground again."

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