Martin O'Neill admits it is "more and more likely" Aston Villa central defender Curtis Davies will need surgery to cure his long-standing shoulder problem.
Davies is facing a lengthy spell on the touch-lines if O'Neill's worst fears are realised with former Villa striker Luke Moore - now at West Brom - missing five months with a similar injury three years ago.
It makes O'Neill's recruitment of James Collins and Richard Dunne even more important and the former Celtic boss said: "I'm particularly pleased that the two of them (Dunne and Collins) are on board considering that Curtis will probably be out for a fairly lengthy period of time."
He added: "He needs to see the specialist again but I think surgery is looking more and more likely.
"You have to look at the long-term picture. It's important for the player's long-term future in the professional game that we did that.
"Curtis' commitment and bravery was never in question.
"Surgery is something we're looking at and obviously if that is the decision, and it's pointing in the right direction, then the sooner it's done the better. It would probably be next week."
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