In the immediate wake of Jordan Amavi's gruesome-looking injury this evening, one thing became immediately clear: Aston Villa have very little serviceable depth at the left-back position. Kieran Richardson is the obvious first choice to fill in for Amavi, but given what we've seen this year, he's hardly an inspiring choice. Behind him are... um... José Ángel Crespo, and possibly Lewis Kinsella.
That's not a list that's going to solve a lot of problems. And the first thought of many Villa fans on twitter was "recall the loaned out players!" That makes sense! Both Aly Cissokho and Joe Bennett are probably better choices to get regular first-choice minutes at left back than any of the above-mentioned players. Unfortunately, a recall of either (at least until January) is highly unlikely.
U.1 A Player shall not play for a Club in a League Match unless that Club holds his registration (which shall include, in the circumstances set out in Rules U.3 and U.12, confirmation that he is eligible to play for it) with effect from at least 75 minutes before kick-off and for League Matches to be played between the close of the First Transfer Window and the end of the Season either:
U.1.1. his name is included on the Squad List; or
U.1.2. he is an Under 21 Player
A little further down we do get this:
U.6. Changes to a Squad List may be made:
U.6.1. during the period of a Transfer Window; or
U.6.2. at other times only with the permission of the Board
So there is the tiniest glimmer of hope in U.6.2, but historically, exemption to the squad list has been reserved for goalkeeper situations. That's not what Villa have, obviously. Don't get caught up on that, we're not going to get it.
Instead, new manager Rémi Garde will have to make do with what he has. That means we should probably expect to see Richardson starting, and one of Kinsella or Crespo as the second choice. There is a very outside chance that Liverpool loanee Tiago Ilori could move in, as he's apparently capable of playing anywhere in the back line, but I'd say it would be an absolute last-choice option.
Get used to Kieran Richardson as your starting left back. Joe Bennett and Aly Cissokho can't save us now.