Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner faces long lay-off

Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner has been ruled out for eight to nine months with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in his right knee.

The 20-year-old, who will undergo surgery, suffered the injury during Villa's Under-21 Professional Development League game against Stoke.

"It's a blow and definitely a blow for the lad but he's very positive," boss Paul Lambert told the club website. 

"He'll get great attention all the way through his rehab."

This is the second time Gardner has suffered an ACL injury, having previously had the same problem in his left knee in December 2009.

The England Under-21 international, who previously had a short loan spell at Coventry, has made 17 senior appeances for Villa, 12 as a substitute.