Aston Villa have suffered a third major injury setback with winger Marc Albrighton facing several weeks out of action with a broken metatarsal.
Albrighton suffered the setback during the first week of pre-season training last months. Now sources close to Villa are predicting he will be sidelined for at least six weeks.
The 22-year-old is still having to wear a protective boot and is not expected to return until late September or early October.
Albrighton’s blow follows on from striker Gabriel Agbonlahor and defender Richard Dunne being ruled out for lengthy periods.
Agbonlahor is out for four to five weeks and Dunne for six to eight weeks with knee and groin problems respectively.
Albrighton had spoken earlier in the summer of trying to impress new Villa manager Paul Lambert after he struggled last season to reproduce the form of the previous campaign.
But now the Villa academy product faces a lengthy lay-off with the new Barclays Premier League season only eight days away.