Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert today revealed the squad are “down to the bare bones” for their Premier League clash with Wigan.
The injury-hit claret and blues will be without the services of nine senior players ahead the visit of a Latics side three points below them in the relegation places.
Definitely ruled out are Richard Dunne (hip), Ron Vlaar (calf), Gary Gardner (knee), Gabby Agbonlahor (hip), Darren Bent (hamstring), Charles N’Zogbia (knee), Nathan Baker (hamstring) and Andreas Weimann (calf).
Fabian Delph will miss out through suspension, after he picked up his fifth booking of the season against Tottenham on Boxing Day.
It means Lambert will look to youngsters Samir Carruthers, Derrick Williams and Daniel Johnson to make up the numbers on the Villa bench.
He said: “We are down to the bare bones regarding injuries. We have some big players out at the moment and we need to get them back as soon as we can.
“It’s tough at this time of year because we have four games in 10 days. It’s really hard. I don’t think many will be back in time.
"But we have go to pick ourselves up and go with what we have got.”
Meanwhile, Lambert today played down the idea that his squad does not contain enough experienced players.
The claret and blues host Wigan having conceded 12 goals in their past two games against Chelsea and Tottenham.
But, despite the naivety of those two performances, the Scot insisted Villa were no better off in the past few seasons when they had some old heads around.
Lambert argued: “As I have said before, over the last few years this club has had loads of experienced players and the situation has not really changed.
“Experienced players won’t always take you where you want to go. I know that from my own experience and I have got a belief in the way we are doing it, in the long term, that this club will be great.
“There’s no point me saying we are down there because of inexperience. This club was battling against relegation last season. I think definite progress has been made.
"I can see the long-term situation and what we are trying to do. We’re not in the bottom three and the league is really tight. We’re sitting not too far from mid-table.”
The Villa boss has, however, demanded a response from his players against the Latics at Villa Park after their two humiliations.
He said: "You have to respond. There’s no point in going out there and feeling sorry for yourself. We have to try to rectify it.”Subscribe to our Newsletter