Aston Villa could be without Adama Traore, Carles Gil and Idrissa Gana for the weekend's visit of Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion, manager Tim Sherwood has revealed at his pre-match press conference.
Traore suffered an ankle injury during last month’s 5-3 Capital One Cup win over Notts County, in which he scored his first goal for the club, and has not been back in action since.
Gil, meanwhile, picked up a knock during the first half of last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at Leicester and, while he played over an hour into the match, the 22-year-old Spaniard was eventually substituted straight after doubling Villa’s lead in the 63rd-minute with a fine left-footed strike.
Neither has been able to train this week and, while Sherwood has still not given up hope of having both available for the Baggies clash, he concedes that the midfield pair are serious doubts.
“Traore and Carles haven’t trained,” said Sherwood. “It’s disappointing. We will take our time with Traore because he’s a young player and we don’t want to take unnecessarily risks with him."
In addition, Gana will also have to be assessed ahead of the West Brom game after missing the defeat to Leicester with a hamstring injury he sustained in Senegal's 2-0 African Cup of Nations qualifying win over Namibia earlier this month.
“He’s going to train today and we’re hoping he will come through it,” added the Villa boss. “We don’t want to take any risks but we’ve got a lot of months ahead.”
On a more positive note, Sherwood went on to reveal that Jores Okore is back in training for the first time since undergoing a knee operation in the summer, although he stressed that the Danish defender is still “nowhere near” match fit at this point.
Fortunately, though, the club are now well covered at centre-back after the deadline day signings of Liverpool loanee Tiago Ilori and former West Brom man Joleon Lescott, who made his debut against Leicester after getting the nod over Ciaran Clark.
However, while Sherwood was satisfied with his overall performance, he offered no guarantee that the 33-year-old stopper will keep his place in the side for Saturday’s meeting with his old club, adding: “I think he’s done well but there are a lot of other players who could come in and play. We’ve got a couple of games coming up and we need to rotate the squad.
“I think everyone realises that we’ve got competition for places here now and it’s horses for courses. If we think we need different personnel in there then we’ll change it.”