By Paul Brown
Nigel Reo-Coker is the new stand-in captain of Villa - as Stiliyan Petrov looks set to see a specialist on his injured knee.
Reo-Coker has been chosen by boss Gerard Houllier to skipper the claret and blue troops in Petrov's absence, with Richard Dunne as vice-captain.
The manager picked out Reo-Coker's consistency as a vital factor in his decision.
He said: "Just from what I see, his attitude and his work-rate has been consistent.
"In terms of performance, he knows exactly his role in the team.
"He works for the team and he has improved a lot, even over the last few games.
"Exemplarity is also a very important factor to me and that's why he's the captain."
Reo-Coker is in the final year of his contract and Houllier is keen for the all-action midfielder to stay.
He continued: "I hope he will stay with us. It's too early to say but Paul Faulkner has started to have talks with his agent. But he knows I want to keep him.
"I think Nigel has probably gone through good times and bad times until now.
"He knows the years to come are vital for him and it's better to be in an environment he knows, he likes and in which he will enjoy his football and therefore improve.
"He wants a manager who trusts him, obviously too."
Petrov, meanwhile, will see a specialist to assess the severity of his knee injury.
The boss added: "Stiliyan has just left on his crutches but he's going to see a specialist tomorrow morning. Then we'll see.
"I hope there won't be an operation but it's not down to me to decide that. He'll see the specialist.
"It's a blow obviously because he's captain and he might be out for one or two months. It's a bad injury."