By Paul Brown
Villa have been dealt another injury blow with John Carew ruled out of action for a month by a torn calf.
But manager Gerard Houllier is confident rookie striker Nathan Delfouneso can step into the breach following a series of set-backs for Villa forwards.
As well as the Norwegian powerhouse, Gabby Agbonlahor is still out of action with a groin problem, while Emile Heskey - who has just undergone a successful operation on his knee ligament damage - still faces a month out.
Houllier said: "Emile will be a big blow. In the six games he has played, he has scored three goals and he has set up chances too. His work-rate has been phenomenal.
"The other blow is that John won't be playing. He picked up an injury yesterday in training.
"He had a scan this morning and apparently there is a slight tear in his calf, which will rule him out for a minimum of three weeks, maybe four. That's it.
"Obviously Gabby is still in recovery although for the first time in training today he took part in the ball-work.
"Emile had an operation last night which was successful but he'll obviously need another three or four weeks and John did his calf.
"It will be an opportunity for young Nathan to step up. Definitely Nathan will be the striker.
"Young players don't stay young all their life. At some stage they will grow and get mature but the career usually starts when there is an opportunity.
"I would say the reason 80 or 90 per cent of the players arrive on the big scene is because they started when there was an opening.
"I know that Nathan is not a newcomer because he has played under Martin - he knows the Premier League.
"To him, maybe it's an ideal opportunity to put his footprint on it."