By Paul Brown
Martin O'Neill insists Curtis Davies is on schedule for a New Year return while Wilfred Bouma has suffered a set-back in his bid for fitness.
The Villa boss refuted suggestions in the national press that the classy centre-back's progress had been halted and said the original four month diagnosis was still accurate.
Bouma, meanwhile, is fully over the ankle problem that has plagued him for a year but he is now struggling with a toe issue.
The manager said: "Curtis is doing very well. He will always be ahead of schedule - whatever time frame you give him - that's just Curtis.
"We are waiting for news from the specialist. That is coming in very shortly. He will dictate. A dislocation of the shoulder is put away for some time and then you have to do exercises.
"There is a timescale there and he's not behind it as seems to have been reported last week. He's absolutely bang on schedule.
"With his type of injury, there's no point rushing him back. We said at the time that we were looking somewhere in the region of 16 weeks - four months - and I think he is bang on for that. I reckon, with a fair wind, we are looking at January time.
"Wilfred had a bit of a set-back. In terms of the ankle injury he sustained just over a year ago, he's fine. Everything is good with that.
"He actually has one of those turf toes - he stubbed it - and that's causing him a lot of pain at the moment.
"It looks like we might need to immobilise that for a week or two. So just when it looked as if he was on track, he suffers a separate injury - a set-back for him. It's been a frustrating time for him over the past few months."