Forgotten star Charles N’Zogbia looks like he is the next man to join Paul Lambert’s “bomb squad” at Villa.
The £9.5m man will already miss half the season following surgery on an Achilles injury suffered while on holiday in Miami.
But ominously for N’Zogbia, he has been given the Lambert ‘kiss of death’ by losing his No.10 shirt and given the No.36 instead.
Dropping into the “thirtysomething” number placements has spelt bad news for a battery of Villa stars who have subsequently been bombed out by the Villa boss.
Five of them – Darren Bent, Stephen Ireland, Barry Bannan, Nathan Delfouneso and Enda Stevens – have all been shipped out to new clubs.
The outlook is already bleak for N’Zogbia, who has been a hit and miss signing since his arrival from Wigan two summers ago, as he is unlikely to figure before the end of this year.
He has now begun to step up his rehabilitation following his Achilles operation in June, an injury incurred while he was following a summer fitness programme outlined by Villa.
Former Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has retired at 31 after a series of injury problems. Hitzlsperger left Villa for Stuttgart in 2005.