Aston Villa defender Tommy Elphick is set to be out of action for four to five weeks after suffering a heel injury during his side’s 4-0 win against Derby County on Saturday.
The 31-year-old went off injured during the second half against the Rams and was replaced by left-back Neil Taylor, with Kortney Hause moving into a more central role.
Dean Smith confirmed on Villa’s official Twitter account on Tuesday that the centre-back will not be back until April.
🗣 Dean Smith on @TommyElph4's injury: “He will probably be out for four or five weeks, I would think.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) March 5, 2019
At the start of the season, Elphick was sent out on loan to Hull City by then-manager Steve Bruce, only to be recalled back in January by Smith [BBC Sport].
Since then, he has been a regular member of Villa’s defensive line, partnering James Chester then playing alongside Tyrone Mings.
In Elphick’s absence, centre-back Hause, who has been playing at full-back, is expected to replace him at the heart of the club’s defence.
On Sunday, Villa will make the short trip to St Andrew’s as they take on their Second City rivals Birmingham City – Smith’s side won the reverse fixture 4-2.
Jack Grealish will be looking to make his mark after he scored during that game at Villa Park, not forgetting he recently returned from injury.
Over the weekend, he scored a thumping volley against Derby as Smith’s side picked up only their second win of 2019.