Aston Villa have been hit by yet another injury setback with acting skipper Richard Dunne suffering a recurrence of a knee problem.
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The Republic of Ireland international is the 10th senior Villa player to join the injury list after his knee flared up during Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with Manchester United.
Dunne was initially sidelined with the setback for two games in mid-September and Villa boss Gerard Houllier can ill afford anymore injury blows.
Houllier said: "Richard’s knee has swollen up and it is a recurring thing.
"That is why he missed two or three games earlier in the season.
"He is important to us and I like the attitude of all my older players because they are good tutors (for the younger players) in terms of training and attitude towards the job.
"The two centre-backs (Dunne and James Collins) are fantastic people. They encourage and sometimes they give a rollicking."
Villa are already without Stiliyan Petrov, Nigel Reo-Coker, Emile Heskey, Fabian Delph (all knee) John Carew, Carlos Cuellar and Ciaran Clark (all calf), Habib Beye (ankle) and Steve Sidwell (Achilles).
In addition Stephen Ireland missed the United game through illness while Gabriel Agbonlahor withdrew from the England squad to face France after suffering a knock in the same game.
Houllier reiterated that he will look to strengthen the squad during the next transfer window.
He said: "We definitely need to sign one or two players in January."