Villa rocked by injury blow to Kalinic

Aston Villa could be without goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic against Stoke City on Saturday, according to the Birmingham Mail.

The stopper, who has made seven Championship appearances this season, faces a late fitness test ahead of the encounter.

What’s the word?

Kalinic moved to Villa in January, after a deal was agreed with Gent in December.

The Croatia international, who has won 16 caps for his country, has since played in every available Championship game, bar the clash with QPR on New Year’s Day.

Kalinic sustained a concussion during the last encounter, a 2-0 loss to West Brom, and was subsequently substituted at half-time.

Dean Smith has confirmed that the stopper may now miss the encounter with Stoke and that he is being treated by the club’s medical staff.

“Lovre is following the concussion protocol so we’ll have more information on him tomorrow,” Smith said, per the aforementioned report.

“There’s a protocol that he’s following because he was concussed .

“He was on the bike yesterday and has done some work with Neil Cutler (the goalkeeping coach).

“The doctor has to make sure the boxes are ticked to see whether he’s okay.”

Serious issue

Kalinic has been a fine performer for Villa since his move to the club.

His absence from this weekend’s encounter would be a serious blow to Smith, with previous first-choice Orjan Nyland already out for the remainder of the season.

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Jed Steer, who replaced Kalinic against the Baggies, has played just three Championship games this season, while Mark Bunn has played once, in a 3-3 draw with Preston.

Steer is likely to be trusted again but Villa appear to be having absolutely no luck with injuries as it stands.

Per the Birmingham Mail, Jack Grealish is also currently injured, along with Tom Carroll and Axel Tuanzebe. John McGinn is suspended, too.