Socceroos captain cops horror injury call
ASTON Villa boss Steve Bruce wants to start December with a bang when his side travel to Leeds but he will be doing it without Socceroos talisman Mile Jedinak.
The Australian skipper damaged a shoulder in last weekend's victory over Ipswich, having only recently returned from a long lay-off due to a groin complaint.
Jedinak scored all three goals in last month's play-off victory over Honduras which sent the Socceroos to a fourth consecutive World Cup.
Bruce is hoping the injury will heal without surgery but is resigned to the Australian being sidelined until the New Year.
"We hope that he doesn't need the operation and that it repairs itself," Bruce told the BBC.
"We thought it would be an operation but he has obviously damaged the joint and we will have to wait and let nature take its course.
"He should be back at Christmas but if it doesn't go well and he needs an operation, then we are talking two to three months."
After a slow opening to the season, the Villains have picked up the pace with eight wins from their last 11 games to climb to fourth in the Championship table.
A trip to Elland Road in the second tier is a reminder of how far both teams have fallen and Bruce knows this will be a crucial period in their hopes of a Premier League return.
"It's fair to say it's the biggest month of the season - absolutely with the games we've got coming up," the Villa boss said on avfc.co.uk.
"I've said it before, we're barking mad in this country. But it is what it is. The rest of Europe will be having a break and we've got six games in a very short period of time.
"There's no more difficult start to December than Leeds United away, either. It's a big crowd, a big atmosphere and live on the TV. It's all to play for."