Midfielder Gareth Barry has revealed he has been playing through the pain of a groin injury to aid Aston Villa's pursuit of a top-four finish this season.
The England international has made 29 appearances in all competitions for Martin O'Neill's side so far this season despite being hampered by the niggling problem.
Barry was left out of the side that edged past Gillingham in the third round of the FA Cup last weekend after the injury worsened in the 1-0 win at Hull City just days before.
But the recently restored Villa skipper is hoping to avoid surgery despite admitting the injury is proving a nuisance.
"I felt it very strongly against Hull, but it has been there all season really," he said.
"We will judge it day by day and game by game. No operation is imminent.
"It is a bit of a niggle and we felt it would be best to leave me out of the Gillingham game.
"We had scans to see if it was an hernia problem - and whether I would need an operation - but they were all clear.
"The groin felt a lot easier against West Brom (on Saturday) and we will judge it game by game."