Struggling Scott Carson will be fit to face Manchester United on Saturday for a game that may also see Craig Gardner's rebirth as an Aston Villa midfielder.
Out-of-form goalkeeper Carson withdrew from Fabio Capello's England squad to play France last night through injury but a club spokesman insisted yesterday the niggle was never thought to be serious and confirmed the on-loan Liverpool player will be included in the squad to travel to Old Trafford.
Gardner's possible recall to his favoured midfield position is more due to his form.
The youngster impressed against Poland at Molineux for the Under-21s on the right side of midfield and may have done enough to persuade his club manager, Martin O'Neill, to deploy him in an advanced role for the unenviable task of going to Manchester United on the back of just two Barclays Premier League wins in their last nine matches.
While O'Neill has benefited from, and greatly appreciated, Gardner's versatility, he recognises he must not take advantage of it.
He said: "I think in any era of football the utility man will get loads of games but I do not want to abuse his versatility.
"Craig has shown he will play anywhere for us.
"He has to work on the defensive side of his game because, as a midfielder, one of your tasks is to go back as well as forward so playing full back will be a good learning experience for him.
"He's playing right back at the moment and, going forward, he is able to use his natural talents.
"I have the utmost regard for Craig Gardner. He offers us more in an attacking sense and he is a great striker of a ball. His performance when he came on against Newcastle was excellent.
O'Neill has urged Gardner to learn the nuances of top class defending from Olof Mellberg and Martin Laursen.
Both have been mainstays and impressed in the Villa back four this season, particularly Sweden international Mellberg who has been playing out of position.
Whether at full back or in midfield, Gardner could not expect a harder task than to contain a rampant Manchester United this weekend but, like Laursen, he remains confident that if Villa's attitude is right they can come away from Old Trafford with something.
Laursen said: "Historically we have struggled at Old Trafford but we have done well this season against teams away from home.
"We do have good, fast players going forward so, as a team, we can stay back a little more and then counter-attack them.
"We have also excelled at set-pieces so that might be a way of breaking them down.
"But they have such a wealth of talent up front and can turn defence into attack so quickly.
"Rooney is the one who stands out. He has unbelievable skill and obvious talent but people do not realise how hard he works. He defends from the front and that is important in a successful side."
United are hardly vulnerable at the back, either, so Villa's strikers have been warned that they will have to be at their sharpest if they are to get anything out of a miserly United back four which includes the player that Zat Knight rates as the best in the business.
The Villa centre-back said: "Rio Ferdinand is the best defender in the top flight and the scary thing is he is getting better.
"He can defend but he is also capable of bringing the ball out from the back.
"But we have got a great record against the top teams on the road this season and we must take heart from that as we head to Old Trafford.
"Like Villa Park, Old Trafford has tremendous history and heritage. It's a stadium that you are desperate to do well at, although it's probably the most difficult venue when it comes to picking up good results."