Dean Smith has backed Emiliano Buendia to prove why Aston Villa made him their record buy.
The £38million signing has not started any of Villa’s last four Premier League games ahead of Saturday’s visit of Wolves.
Buendia, who joined from Norwich in the summer, scored on his last start against Brentford in August but has been restricted to just 33 minutes since.
Bills boss Smith said: “We signed him because of the quality he gives us and we know what he can give us. He shows that every day in training and it won’t be long before he’s in the team.
“We have never put any pressure on trying to handle any price tag or numbers because the players aren’t in control of that. That is what someone is willing to pay for them.
“Their job is to go out and work hard every day and be ready to perform in the arena on a match day. I have seen a player there who is able to do that.
“He’s getting to where we want him to be. He got injured during pre-season so he was lacking the fitness in the first couple of games. He was getting up to speed, scored his first goal against Brentford, and then had to go off with Argentina.
“We played very well at Chelsea and decided to go with the same system and unfortunately he didn’t get the nod in the Everton game.
“He has a lot of qualities but the one I have seen over the last three or four weeks is a drive and desire to succeed. I think all players need that and he has that in abundance.”
Douglas Luiz and Emiliano Martinez will only return from international duty with Brazil and Argentina on Friday and Smith expects to have them available for the derby.
Leon Bailey remains out with a hamstring injury but he could be in contention for next Friday’s trip to Arsenal while Bertrand Traore (thigh) is being assessed and Keinan Davis and Morgan Sanson are back in training.
“We will assess whether they’re going to be available to play or not,” added Smith, on Martinez and Luiz.
“Emi played last night for Argentina, Douglas got the last 20 minutes for Brazil and we’ve also had players playing for Scotland, England, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe – so we’ve had players all over the world.
“We want them back and we expect them to come back, then we’ll assess whether they’re ready to play or not. Martinez and Luiz are obviously the latest ones to come back but they’ll be in the squad.”
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