Neil Taylor is set for a spell in the physio-room after it was confirmed that the fullback has suffered a hamstring injury.
Taylor is expected to be out of action for at least two weeks at a crucial time of the campaign.
The news came as no surprise to The Villa Underground, being sat just yards from the Welsh defender after he sustained his injury at The Hawthorns.
Taylor went down early in the second half and was in visible agony whilst being assisted by Villa’s medical staff.
Despite struggling to get to his feet unaided, Taylor was encouraged to mobilise the injury and made his way with the help of a single physio to the edge of the pitch. However, it required a second member of Villa’s team to run the entire perimeter of the pitch, to then assist Taylor to agonisingly make his way down the tunnel for treatment.
Whatever happened to a good old fashioned stretcher?
This is an unfortunately timed injury for Taylor, who despite hardly setting the world alight, has gone about his rehabilitation in a Villa shirt diligently.
Whilst still prone to an element of rash play (who could forget the Coleman tackle…), Taylor is a generally steady player, who is at least a natural fullback.
More challenging is that this inevitably forces Smith’s hand.
What we will likely see is an enforced switch of flanks for Alan Hutton, with The Scottish Cafu taking up left back.
From there, it’s reasonable to assume that Ahmed Elmohamady (himself unfortunate to not feature at The Hawthorns from the start) will slot in at right back.
James Bree is the only other name who could reasonably be considered, but the former Barnsley defender is understood to only be a week into full training, having been unavailable since early October.