Dean Smith confirmed John McGinn has been involved in training this week as he steps up his recovery from an ankle injury.
The Scotland midfielder suffered a fracture in Villa’s 3-1 defeat to Southampton at Villa Park in December.
While McGinn hasn’t resumed full training, Smith confirmed he has been out on the grass with his team-mates as he eyes a return in the coming weeks.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Leicester, Smith said: “He’s nearer. We haven’t had him in contact (training) yet but he’s been involved in possession sessions and some shape work as well.
“He is certainly getting to where we want him to be and he feels really good, which is the important thing.
“He’ll be pushing me for Chelsea, that’s for sure.”
McGinn has made 18 Premier League appearances this season, recording two goals and three assists, while his form for Scotland also caught the eye prior to the injury setback.
Smith believes that McGinn’s work-rate means his technical quality can be underrated, while he also praised the 25-year-old’s mental strength.
He explained: “He gives you legs, he runs all day and he has a massive heart.
"People sometimes overlook the quality that the kid has as well, he’s a quality footballer.
“He was scoring goals for Aston Villa and Scotland and we have missed his legs and his quality so when he’s right, we will bring him back.
“He can handle anything, he is mentally as strong as they come.”