Aston Villa have been boosted by the news that striker Emile Heskey did not suffer a serious groin injury in the 1-0 weekend victory at home to Stoke City.
The 31-year-old England international lasted just 24 minutes of the win over the Potters, but a subsequent scan has revealed no major damage.
Manager Martin O'Neill said:"Emile went for a scan. It showed a bit of something but he feels much better himself.
"I think it is shaping up to be a short-term injury, which is good news for us and him.
"He may be available for one of the two Christmas games and that is decent news for us."
Meanwhile, O'Neill has challenged Heskey to find the net on a more regular basis, despite a run of three goals in his last seven games.
"Emile knows himself that he should be contributing more goals, but then he is an unselfish player who creates chances for other people," O'Neill added.
"If you ask people like Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney with England, they will say how much they enjoy playing with him."