Aston Villa manager Gerard Houiller faces a real selection headache ahead of Saturday’s trip to Fulham after John Carew was ruled out for a month with a torn calf muscle.
Norwegian Carew had expected to start in Villa’s trip to the capital, but instead, he joins fellow forwards Gabby Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey on the treatment table– leaving Houllier with no experienced senior striker to choose from.
Agbonlahor has been sidelined for much of the season with a groin problem and only returned to light training this week, meaning the Fulham clash has come a week too early.
Heskey has had knee surgery after the former England international tore a medial ligament in training which will take him out of action for at least a month.
Villa boss Houllier said: “Having Heskey out is a big blow because in the six games he played, he scored three goals and created some chances as well.
"His work rate was phenomenal. But the other blow is that John Carew won't be playing because he picked up an injury yesterday in training.
"He had a scan this morning and there is a slight tear of his calf which will rule him out for a minimum of three weeks, maybe four weeks.
"Gabby is still in the recovery period although for the first time today he took part in training, in ball work.
"Emile had the operation last night and it was successful but he may well need another three or four weeks."
Houiller has confirmed that he will hand 19-year-old Nathan Delfouneso his first Premier League start to solve his striking problems. The pacey England U21 forward has only a handful of substitute appearances in the top-flight and has scored only one goal as he hit the winner in a 2-1 victory over Portsmouth at Fratton Park last season.
"It is an ideal opportunity for young Nathan to step up. He will definitely be the main striker," said Houllier.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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