Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn will be out for a number of months after fracturing his ankle, it has been announced.
McGinn was forced off after just eight minutes of their Premier League defeat to Southampton after appearing to get his studs caught in the turf.
Villa boss Dean Smith confirmed after the match that the Scotland midfielder had been sent for an X-ray, with the club confirming the extent of the damage on Sunday.
McGinn has been a key figure for Villa on their return to the Premier League this season and his absence will add to Smith’s concerns after a poor run of form.
They have won just once in their last nine top-flight outings, losing the last four, and the 3-1 defeat to Southampton saw them slip into the relegation zone.
Villa are yet to confirm how long they expect the 25-year-old to be sidelined for, but he will miss key games in their battle to beat the drop.
Villa face Norwich and Watford, the other two sides in the bottom three, in their next two matches, while they face the likes of Brighton and Watford again in January.
Depending on the severity of the injury, McGinn could also face a race to be fit for Scotland’s Euro 2020 qualifying play-off against Israel on March 26.
His absence would be a huge below as he was his country’s top scorer in their qualifying group with seven goals in 10 games.
McGinn has been linked with a January move to Manchester United, despite Smith warning that the club will not be selling their key players.