Why Aston Villa's injury crisis could be good news for Jores Okore

Aston Villa are without three centre-backs for their game against Southampton, which could be good news for Jores Okore.

Aston Villa's defensive injury crisis means that Paul Lambert's team are down the bare bones as they prepare to take on Southampton in the Premier League

Ron Vlaar, Nathan Baker and Philippe Senderos have all been ruled out of their Monday night fixture, leaving Lambert scratching his head as to who to play at centre-back. 

The injured trio are Villa's first three preferences to play at the heart of their defence and selecting a team from the remaining squad members is going to be hard for Lambert.

It leaves Villa fans fearful of what could happen against a high-flying Saints side who have torn apart teams with their attacking intent already this season.

Southampton are in second position in the Premier League and, with Villa failing to win any of their last seven fixtures, go into the game as heavy favourites to collect the three points. 

Lambert's side may just be hoping to avoid embarrassment given their paucity of options at the back, but it could be good news for one of their defenders.

Jores Okore was highly regarded when he completed a move to Villa back in the summer of 2013, but he has made just four appearances since signing for the club. 

The 22-year-old has impressed when given first-team exposure, but Lambert has now not played him for over a year. 

This is partly down to injury, but Okore must be growing frustrated with his lack of playing time and it is hardly helping his development. 

The powerful centre-back is likely to be Villa's only choice to come into the team on Monday, though, and he will be determined to show Lambert that overlooking him was wrong.

His prolonged exclusion would have been understandable had Villa been watertight, but their defence has been porous for some time and it seems baffling that the Scottish boss could have left him out for so long. 

If he can unexpectedly thwart the Southampton attack on Monday this could be the chance that he has been waiting for, though, and Okore must look on this opportunity as a way to establish his place in the first-team line-up. 

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch