Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce is hopeful he will be allowed to make signings in the upcoming January transfer window after confirming the club's injury list now includes midfielder Mile Jedinak, who could require surgery to treat a shoulder problem that will keep him out of the Championship clash with Leeds United on Friday (1 December).
The Australia international lasted just 26 minutes of his second start of the season against Ipswich Town on Saturday, thanks to what was initially feared to be a recurrence of a groin injury he had surgery on in the summer.
Jedinak, 33, has now been sent to see a specialist to determine the full extent of a shoulder issue, but he joins a growing Villa injury list for the trip to Leeds. John Terry and Jonathan Kodjia are both out with long-term foot and ankle injuries, while Andre Green, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Scott Hogan will also miss the game.
"We've been dealt a cruel blow in that respect," said Bruce, according to the Birmingham Mail. "It all started with [Jack] Grealish, then it was Kodjia, [Henri] Lansbury picked up an injury, then Terry and now Mile Jedinak.
"When they're cracking bones and things like that, it's tough. They've managed to cope so far, which is great testament to the squad and the players we've got. We don't need anymore.
"The big thing is can we sustain it? Everyone gets injuries yet, but to miss our spine of the team is a big blow. We had built the team all around those players and unfortunately we're without them. Fair play to the squad, they've coped with it very well."
Though the January window represents the chance for all clubs to improve their squads, Villa may be prohibited from adding to their current ranks due to Financial Fair Play restrictions, according to owner Tony Xia.
Bruce is unsure as to the size of the budget he will be afforded but feels he needs new faces to cover for the growing injury list. "With January around the corner, let's hope we can add to it," the former Birmingham City boss said.
"I know we don't have millions to spend, however, the loan market has been very kind to us – [Robert] Snodgrass, [Josh] Onomah, Sam Johnstone – we'll have to be a bit creative and see if there's anybody out there that can give us a hand.
"It's difficult, but we've managed to cope with it. We've got good players in our squad. We'd love to be in the position where you go and target a centre forward, with millions to spend, but we don't have that luxury."
Friday night's game will see fourth play eighth in the Championship in what could turn out to be a key game in the race for promotion. Villa have won four of their last five games while Leeds recovered from a thrashing by Wolverhampton Wanderers to beat Barnsley last weekend.
"Leeds vs Aston Villa would grace any league," said Bruce of a fixture which has been contested 25 times in the Premier League. "They've both got big support, tradition and history.
"It's a really great game and great to be involved in. They've got a decent team, especially up the top end of the pitch We will have to defend well. It will be noisy for a Friday night."