Birkir Bjarnason has been ruled out of Sunday’s meeting with Birmingham City after undergoing surgery on a groin injury. The Aston Villa midfielder hasn’t played for nearly a month, having been substituted in the 41st minute due to injury against Queens Park Rangers. His return date is unknown, but Bjarnason may not be back until the New Year.
The 30-year-old featured more under Steve Bruce prior to his sacking. He hasn’t been a regular under Dean Smith, making only one league appearance since mid-October, being an unused substitute against Norwich City on October 23, Bolton Wanderers on November 2 and Derby County on November 10.
So, Bjarnason will be out of action, and with John McGinn also an injury doubt for the Birmingham meeting, Dean Smith might have to turn to Glenn Whelan alongside Conor Hourihane. The Midlands outfit also have Mile Jedinak as a midfield option, but the Australian international hasn’t played since late-September.
Jedinak, who briefly was dropped from the matchday squad entirely in early October, has been as an unused substitute for Villa’s last five league games and may be too short of match fitness to be handed a start in such an important derby outing.