Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov anticipates that he will not be playing any football until February.
The Bulgarian midfielder is currently recovering from the partial medial knee ligament tear he sustained in last month’s defeat at Sunderland.
Villa boss Gerard Houllier had initially hoped that the 31-year-old former Celtic star would be able to return to action over the festive period, but Petrov is being more circumspect in his prediction.
He told the club’s official website:“I’m bitterly disappointed not to be involved. I feel okay but the knee injury I picked up against Sunderland means I will be out for around three months.
“It was one of those things and you have just got to accept that sometimes these things happen in football.
“It is the first time I have been out for such a lengthy period since I suffered a broken leg when playing for Celtic ten years ago. But I have every confidence in the boys to go out there and perform to the best of their ability.
“The team have been working really hard under the new manager and we have been playing well recently. We’ve been creating a lot of chances too so hopefully we can start putting a few more of them away.
“But it will take time and that is something that every team needs under a new manager.”