Aston Villa have been rocked by the news midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker could be sidelined for up to three months with an ankle injury picked up in training.
Scans confirmed the 25-year-old has suffered a stress fracture and will miss now miss a crucial stage of Villa's Barclays Premier League campaign and the Carling Cup final against Manchester United next month.
Villa manager Martin O'Neill described Reo-Coker's absence as a "major blow" on his club website, and added that the news regarding full-back Stephen Warnock's shin was also far from encouraging.
Warnock was forced to sit out Wednesday night's goalless draw against Arsenal at Villa Park, and O'Neill said: "We have a couple of injury problems - Nigel and Stephen in particular.
"Nigel will be out for some considerable time - it's turned out to be a stress fracture - so he might miss 12 weeks. That's a major blow to us. News on Stephen is not fantastic either, but we'll see."