Young Aston Villa striker Nathan Delfouneso may get his chance to prove himself in the first team in the coming weeks as Gerard Houllier has been hit by a lack of fit strikers.
Emile Heskey is the latest name set for a spell on the sidelines after picking up an injury in training that will keep him out for around a month.
The news may spell trouble for Villa as Heskey has been one of their few impressive performers in recent weeks after enjoying a resurgence of form since Houllier’s appointment.
A club statement said: “Heskey tore the medial meniscus in his right knee yesterday in training, with no other player involved in the incident.
“The injury will require an operation and he faces between three to four weeks out of action.”
Houllier has already had to make do without leading marksman Gabby Agbonlahor since taking charge because of injury, while John Carew has looked woefully below his best in recent weeks.
If Houllier decides that Carew is unworthy of a starting spot in Villa’s next Premier League game away at Fulham then Delfouneso may be in line to make his first league start for the club.
The other option is to move Ashley Young into the role of a lone striker and then pick two from Stewart Downing, Marc Albrighton and Barry Bannan in the wide positions.
Villa did the double over Fulham last season, winning 2-0 on each occasion, which could make them a big price at 2/1 to beat Fulham this time.
However, of the four goals last season three were scored by Agbonlahor and the other was an own goal.
This could be even more of a reason to opt for Delfouneso as he is another who has pace as his chief asset, while potentially being more predatory in front of goal than Agbonlahor.
Fulham have avoided defeat to Villa in five of their last six home meetings and are 11/8 to take the three points. See the full Fulham vs Aston Villa match betting odds market.