Irish defender Richard Dunne has suffered another injury setback and will miss the crucial World Cup qualifier in Sweden next month.
Dunne was due to play his first game of the season in the Premier League defeat to Newcastle on Tuesday night.
But the Dubliner broke down in training on Tuesday morning and may face a fourth operation on his injured groin.
The injury, which first flared during the doomed Euro 2012 finals campaign, could now end Dunne’s season.
Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has already ruled Dunne out of next week’s friendly with Poland in Dublin.
But it is now highly unlikely that Dunne will be available for the World Cup double header away to Sweden and home to Austria next month.
Villa boss Paul Lambert, fighting for his job after the Newcastle defeat, revealed Dunne’s latest setback after the game.
Lambert said: “It looks like he has had a setback. We will have to wait and see over the next few days whether that settles down again.
“He trained on Monday but then came in this morning prior to the Newcastle game and felt something.”
The Irish Sun reports that Dunne could now undergo further surgery having already had three operations since he last lined out for club or country.