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Fulham v Aston Villa preview

Fulham have been rocked by the news that captain Brede Hangeland will be out until the New Year ahead of their game with Aston Villa on Sunday.

The influential centre-half has been missing for over month with his sciatic nerve problem, and now faces another six weeks out after it was agreed that surgery was required.

Defender Matthew Briggs is still working his way back from a groin complaint, while Hugo Rodallega is unlikely to figure again before Christmas as he nurses a similar ailment. Darren Bent will not be able to feature against his parent club.

Villa captain Ron Vlaar was forced off at half-time during a midweek win at Southampton with a calf complaint making him a major doubt heading into the weekend.

Joe Bennett could make a timely return from a back injury to help fill the defensive void if Vlaar misses out.

Jores Okore (knee ligaments) and Charles N'Zogbia (Achilles) are both long-term absentees for Villa.