The Scotland international has not played for nearly six months, since fracturing his ankle in the dour home defeat to Southampton in December. His injury against the Saints came after a spell of what he labelled as 'poor performances'.
“It's definitely been the most difficult spell of my career by far," he told Villa TV. "I've been very fortunate up to that point to not suffer any real, serious injury.
“I'd had a discussion with the manager, about getting back to my positive self, trying to surge the team forward. That was due to a few poor performances by myself, I was keen to make an impression – maybe that keenness caught me out. I got my studs caught in the ground and when I heard the crack, I knew.
“That was the strangest feeling, to find out it was broken and to realise I would be at least three months without a game of football was tough to deal with."