By Dan Harrison
Alex McLeish admits Eric Lichaj and Andreas Weimann are making strong claims for starting roles against Chelsea.
McLeish could be forced to ring the changes this weekend with Alan Hutton a serious doubt for the visit of Roberto Di Matteo's men, while Charles N'Zogbia is set to see a specialist after picking up a knee injury.
Captain Stiliyan Petrov has also been unable to train because of a fever.
It means Lichaj and Chris Herd are vying for the right-back spot, while the Villa boss may opt to rejig his formation to accommodate striker Weimann.
McLeish has been impressed with the efforts of Lichaj in training and would not hesitate to give the American full-back his first top-flight start of the season.
"Eric is proving to be a little bit of a warrior," he said.
"There is nothing wrong with being hungry and eager.
"There is no problem with that at all because without the desire and the hunger it is difficult to make the grade at this level.
"We have been impressed with his application in training and in some of the reserve games recently he has been outstanding.
"So there are no problems if we felt we had to play Eric.
"He is a candidate and Chris Herd has played that position before too, although that would mean we would have to look at midfield.
"Andi Weimann is champing at the door too so there will be a lot of food for thought in terms of selection and what formation we go for at the weekend.
"If Weimann comes in then perhaps we are looking at 4-4-2 or as close to that as possible."
McLeish has urged the younger players to seize the opportunity with places up for grabs in his starting XI due to a lengthy injury list.
"It is an opportunity for somebody else," the manager added.
"There have been demands on the squad and a few of the young players have kind of been pushed into the action.
"They responded well and it would be great to see them making real improvements in the Barclays Premier League.
"It is a tough ask to throw them in but we've had to do that on many occasions this season and I'm sure they will be all the better for that in the future."
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