Aston Villa striker Luke Moore could be out of action for the remainder of the season after suffering a recurrence of a shoulder injury during Saturday’s Premiership clash at Chelsea.
Moore is set to undergo surgery on the problem which has dogged him to varying degrees for the past three years and Villa manager Martin O’Neill is resigned to being without the player for the foreseeable future.
The 20-year-old has played a major part in Villa’s unbeaten start to the season under O’Neill in a wide role on the left flank.
Now O’Neill is understood to be ready to step up his efforts to bring in former Celtic striker Chris Sutton on a short-term contract to bolster his forward line.
The Irishman said: “I believe Luke’s injury could be a season-threatening injury. It looks like – and I don’t want to pre-empt things – that he will need an operation.
“It’s the first time he has not been able to put the shoulder back in again straight away after it’s come out.
“If Luke needs an operation, it will be a major blow to us because it will take months and months. It’s a real blow to us and a real blow to him but he needs the shoulder tightening up and he needs it strengthened.”
Moore recently admitted: “The shoulder is painful when it comes out but once it’s back in it’s not too painful. I’ve been trying to put the operation off as long as I can.
“It first became a problem when I was 17 so it is a long-term thing.”
O’Neill has constantly deflected questions about Sutton but it is known he is keen to be reunited with the player who was under his charge at Parkhead.
The 33-year-old was dogged by injury setbacks during a spell at Birmingham last season but has worked on his fitness throughout the summer months.
As things stand, O’Neill has only Milan Baros to fall back on alongside current first team strikers Juan Pablo Angel and Gabriel Agbonlahor and the Czech international is still well short of full match sharpness after a foot injury.