Double injury blow for Villa
Aston Villa have suffered a double defensive blow with right-back Carlos Cuellar and central defender James Collins ruled out of the opening Barclays Premier League clash with visiting West Ham.
Cuellar has failed to recover from a hamstring injury while Collins is still side-lined with a calf problem.
Cuellar and Collins were both regular members of the side last season.
But caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald is hoping striker Gabriel Agbonlahor (hamstring) and centre-back Curtis Davies (knee) will be available.
MacDonald said: "Carlos is still not outside running because of the hamstring injury he picked up.
"He's getting there but he won't be ready for Saturday.
"James will return to training later this week. He won't be available for the weekend though.
"We have injuries but you have to deal with them. Let's see what we can do with what we've got."
MacDonald added: "Curtis and Gabby are both joining in. How far down the line they are, I'll have to assess over the next couple of days.
"You always get little niggles - with the hard grind of pre-season - but I am confident whatever side we put out will compete with West Ham on Saturday."