Aston Villa fear that star midfielder Fabian Delph could be out of action for up to a month after injuring his shoulder in a freak training ground accident.
Manager Paul Lambert confirmed that the England international is being sent for scans to determine the extent of the damage after being ruled out of the weekend’s trip to Everton, and there are serious concerns that he will require an operation.
‘It was an awkward fall, no one was near him,’ he was quoted in the Birmingham Mail.
‘He fell on his shoulder. It is not always straightforward so we need to get it checked out and see what the best solution is.
‘We don’t know yet [if it will require surgery]. That will be left up to the medical people to see what the best procedure is for it.
‘Whether it is enough to allow it to rest for a couple of weeks I don’t know - or if it is that there is more to it.’
Asked if Delph had suffered a dislocation, Lambert replied: ‘Aye, probably that.’
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A thigh strain has also ruled centre-back Philippe Senderos out of the match at Goodison Park, where Villa will look to end a run of three successive league defeats against a side sitting 17th in the table at present.
‘We’ve come through four really hard games and, if you look at it, Everton finished fifth last year so you’re playing virtually the top five the way it’s worked out,’ he said.
‘The fixtures are what they are, but I don’t think anybody should be under any illusions because Everton are still a really good side. I think they’re in a false position in the table at the minute.
‘It’s another tough game, a top five team last year. They spent a lot of money on Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry became permanent so they’ve got a few lads there that are really good players.
‘We’re going to have to be every bit as competitive as we have been since the start of the season.’