Aston Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland is set to miss the remainder of the season through injury, the club’s official website confirmed earlier this month.
Nyland had lost his place in the Aston Villa starting line-up but losing him is still a blow for Dean Smith.
It reduces his options between the sticks and decreases the competition for new first-choice Lovre Kalinic.
Jed Steer is likely to step up to second choice but Nyland’s injury means Kalinic’s place in the team looks quite secure for now.
But the Croatia international has had a mixed start to life in England with fans criticising some of his early performances between the sticks.
However, the 28-year-old hit back with a solid display in last weekend’s goalless draw with Reading.
Kalinic made one exceptional save and looked assured throughout as he helped leaky Aston Villa keep a rare clean sheet.
Aston Villa manager Smith needs Kalinic to keep up this level of performance in the absence of Nyland.
Without the Norway international to hold Kalinic to account for any mistakes, Aston Villa cannot afford to struggle in the goalkeeper department.
If Kalinic can replicate his Reading performance on a more regular basis, then the Villans will surely be in with a shout of the play-offs.