Steve Sidwell has postponed an Achilles operation to help Aston Villa through a midfield player shortage ahead of Sunday's derby clash with Birmingham at Villa Park.
The former Chelsea player will partner Nigel Reo-Coker in the centre of the park against Alex McLeish's side as Villa look for a seventh successive win against their local rivals.
Villa are short of numbers in that department, with skipper Stiliyan Petrov out for up to three months with knee ligament damage and Fabian Delph still recovering from a similar setback.
Villa boss Gerard Houllier said: "Steve's operation has been delayed because he and Nigel will be playing on a regular basis. He could have said `okay, I'm having my operation and we will see after that'.
"He hasn't complained. Usually when you play, sometimes injuries disappear. I would say that is one of them.
"I know the strength of my squad. I would have preferred some of the players who are injured or suspended to be available - but we can cope."