Jean Makoun’s Aston Villa team-mates admit they will miss the midfield maestro during his month-long ban.
Makoun will be suspended for the Premier League games against Blackburn and Bolton and the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Manchester City or Notts County.
If Gerard Houllier’s team fail to make it into the sixth round, his next eligible match will be at home to Wolves in the league on March 19.
Makoun had hit the ground running and made an impressive impact in the centre of the park for Villa following last month’s £5 million-plus move from Lyon.
And Stewart Downing admits Makoun’s spell on the sidelines is an untimely blow following his straight red card at Blackpool last weekend.
“We will miss him because he has really settled in since he arrived here,” said Downing.
“He is a quiet lad and is obviously a foreign lad coming here but he has gone about his business pretty well.
“He keeps the ball well and has a good range of passing. I think he has been a really good signing for us.”
On Makoun’s mistimed red-card lunge at Seasiders striker DJ Campbell, Downing said: “I was close but my vision was obscured.
“I don’t know if he has gone with two feet or not but perhaps he was unlucky because there were a few other challenges in the game as well.
“There were a couple of other two-footed challenges, around the box, which weren’t punished so maybe he is a bit unlucky to be sent off.”
Makoun’s loss will be the gain of another of Villa’s many midfielders, with Houllier blessed with central options.
It is in stark contrast to earlier in the season when the claret and blues had to use defender Ciaran Clark and winger Downing in the engine room.
With Makoun missing, Villa still have captain Stiliyan Petrov, Nigel Reo-Coker, Michael Bradley, Barry Bannan, Fabian Delph, Robert Pires and Chris Herd challenging for two roles.
“Of course his absence will create the chance for someone else to come in,” said Downing. “When people are out suspended or injured it gives someone else the chance to come in, get in the team and give the manager a bit of a problem with selection.
“When everyone is available he will have to leave someone out. That is what having a strong squad is all about – someone else gets a chance to come in and take their chance.
“When everyone is fit it will be a headache for the manager but I am sure it is definitely one he would like.”