Aston Villa have been dealt an injury blow with the news that Bertrand Traore will be out for around a month.
The forward suffered a hamstring issue during Villa’s opening-day defeat at Watford and will not be back until after the international break in September.
More bad news for Villa boss Dean Smith ahead of his side’s first home game of the season against Newcastle on Saturday sees Ollie Watkins remain on the sidelines after he failed to recover from the knee problem that ruled him out at Vicarage Road.
Smith is hopeful the striker will be fit to face his former club Brentford on August 28.
“Bertrand Traore suffered a hamstring injury in the game last week, so he’s going to be out until just after the international break,” said Smith at his pre-match press conference.
“Ollie Watkins, I don’t expect to play. He’s not healed as quick as we would have liked so far. I’m hopeful that he’ll be back for Brentford.
“If not, he’ll definitely be back after the international break. He suffered a knee injury. I don’t know too much about what it was but we were hopeful he’d be ready for tomorrow, but I don’t expect him to play.
“It was sod’s law that someone who hasn’t been injured for the last three years gets injured the week before the season starts. Other than that though, we are fine.”
Villa scored a couple of late goals as they started the campaign with a 3-2 defeat at newly-promoted Watford, with summer signing Danny Ings getting on the scoresheet.
Smith knows his team must be better defensively if they are to get their first points on the board on Saturday in front of a packed Villa Park.
“We understand the quality that we’ve got with Danny Ings. He’s a top goalscorer in the Premier League and he was one that we wanted to get,” said the Villa boss.
“As I’ve said, I didn’t want the onus to start falling on Ollie Watkins given what he did last season.
“Defensively, we have to make sure that we’re sound. We need to play with a lot better defending than we did last week. If we do that, we’ve got attacking players who can score goals.
“Newcastle have got some really good offensive players and I think we saw that last weekend against West Ham, who look like they’ve continued their form from last season.
“Callum Wilson is a threat, Allan Saint-Maximin is a threat, Miguel Almiron is a threat, so they’ve got a lot of threatening players.
“It’s great we will have the fans back. I’ve missed the camaraderie with them, the togetherness. These set of players have built up a great connection with our supporters over the last two or three years.
“They’re a big part of the journey that’s helping us to progress and we’re really looking forward to seeing them tomorrow.”