Paul Lambert says Christian Benteke is "unlikely" to face Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.
Benteke sat out the Stoke loss with a knee problem, as well as several other niggles that have plagued him over the past few weeks.
Lambert confirmed that he is looking to give Benteke ample time to recover from his fitness issues, rather than rush him back and cause further concerns.
In the absence of Benteke though, Lambert did stress his delight at the progress made by Libor Kozak.
The Czech striker joined Villa in the summer transfer window and has already bagged three goals.
On making the Eagles clash, Lambert said: "We will see how things go with Christian. But it's unlikely.
"It's his knee giving him a little bit of concern.
"I don't think it's long term. But he's carrying one or two little things that we need to sort out.
"Hopefully it's not too long before he's back.
"It's vital to manage things. You have to look after their welfare.
"You can't keep patching them up and throwing them in if they're not fully fit.
"We just felt Christian needed that bit of time.
"I thought Kozak was excellent, alongside Weimann.
"Kozak got us back into the game. He was great. He scored another goal. And he led the line well.
"I just thought he was excellent throughout.
"We will have Gabby back too from suspension against Palace."
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