Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard admits the loss of summer signing Boubacar Kamara until the end of the World Cup with a knee injury is a “huge blow”, while left-back Lucas Digne is also set to sit on the sidelines.
France midfielder Kamara was sent off during the first half of the win over Southampton before the international break.
Other tests confirmed that the former Marseille player had suffered ligament damage which will require a long period of rehabilitation.
The loss of Kamara is another setback for Villa, which saw defender Diego Carlos, another summer arrival, suffer a ruptured Achilles in just his second appearance.
Digne, meanwhile, was also forced out of the France squad due to a heel problem and is set for an indefinite rehabilitation period.
“It’s not ideal. We’ve had better days on the injury front,” Gerrard said.
“Boubacar will be out until after the World Cup unfortunately, so it’s a blow.
“It’s him and obviously Diego Carlos, two of our signings, who will be missing for a large part of the season.”
Digne played through injury and Gerrard told a press conference: “Lucas Digne is in a unique situation. He has a heel problem, and that’s something we’ll have to watch out for as we go along.
“It’s very difficult to put a deadline on Lucas, but he will certainly be out in the coming weeks.
“We need to assess this situation in just over two weeks to see if her heel situation has healed enough for us to move her forward.
“It’s quite frustrating and yet another great player that we miss, but obviously it gives others opportunities to move forward.”
On a more positive note, full-back Matty Cash is set to return to full training next week following his hamstring injury.
Jan Bednarek, on loan from Southampton, is available again to bolster Gerrard’s defensive options after being ineligible to face his parent club in the last match before the international break.
Villa travel to Leeds on Sunday to extend their unbeaten streak to three games after also drawing 1-1 against Manchester City in early September.
“We took four points from six and look like we’ve come around the corner, our form has improved and I would have liked to continue,” Gerrard said.
“We now have a lot of games until the World Cup, a lot of opportunities for us to score more points and that’s the plan.”
The long-term future of midfielder Douglas Luiz remains the subject of speculation, with Arsenal having seen their approaches ahead of the January transfer deadline pushed back.
“There’s been no news about him extending his stay here, so the situation hasn’t changed, but what I would say is he’s very focused and he’s been training well,” Gerrard said.
“Am I surprised by the speculation? No, because we have a young Brazilian player who has fantastic talent, so I expect to be asked that question often as the season progresses.
“We want him to stay here, the owners have been very strong in keeping him here.
“We obviously didn’t want to lose him on the last day and he’s performed really well since then and he’s been training really well and he’s ready to go at the weekend.”