The Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield expects Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz to miss the side's Midlands derby with Wolves on Saturday.
The 23-year-old has become a regular under Dean Smith in recent seasons, but appears unlikely to be unavailable when Villa return to action following the international break.
What's the latest news involving Luiz?
Luiz has featured in 75 of Villa's last 85 Premier League games, making the holding midfielder position his own at Villa Park.
However, he is currently on international duty with Brazil, who are due to play in the early hours of Friday morning (UK time) against Uruguay.
This means that he is set to return to England less than 24 hours before Villa take on Wolves, and Hatfield feels that he will not have enough time to prepare properly for the contest.
What has Hatfield said about Luiz?
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT about the chances of Luiz making the starting XI on Saturday afternoon, Hatfield was not overly-optimistic.
He said: “I highly doubt he’ll be playing against Wolves, for example, because he’s flying back in the early hours of the morning. It’s going to be a big ask for him, even if he doesn’t play for Brazil.”
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Can Villa cope without Luiz?
Villa's record without Luiz, who is valued at £31.5m by Transfermarkt, in their team is a mixed one since he joined the club in 2019.
In his maiden campaign in Dean Smith's side, he missed just two games, and the team picked up just a single point from these fixtures. However, things went better for them last season, as they won three of the five matches that he didn't appear in.
He then sat out Villa's opening match this term, as they struggled badly against Watford, eventually losing 3-2 at Vicarage Road. It was alarming how open the side looked that day, and that may be a concern for Smith if he cannot call on Luiz this weekend.
The obvious replacement for Luiz is Marvelous Nakamba, but he has only started one of Villa's last seven top-flight games, so may be lacking some match sharpness.
Smith will need the 27-year-old to produce a strong performance if he picks him, otherwise Luiz could be badly missed, and the hosts may struggle to pick up a positive result as they look to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat to Tottenham earlier this month.News Now - Sport News