Striker Deja Vu
The line-up against Dynamo Dresden this weekend posed a familiar start of the season problem for Steve Bruce – namely a lack of fit strikers. Last year in the season opener against Hull City, the Villa boss elected to play Gabby Agbonlahor out of desperation.
With a match against Hull City again opening the season (albeit away this time), once again Ross McCormack is persona non grata, Scot Hogan is sidelined and Jonathan Kodjia also could again be potentially missing.
Kodjia was left behind from Villa’s short trip to Germany, but it’s hoped with the extra couple of days rest that Villa’s Monday opener against Hull affords, that he will at least be fit.
Keinan Davis and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, who would have been delighted at getting a chance, have both been recently hampered by recurring injuries and remain on the sidelines.
So what of Scott Hogan, who has missed the entire pre-season?
Going back to January 2017, MOMS repeatedly voiced concerns (both on the site and podcast) over Hogan’s previous poor injury record and asked whether paying circa £10m for a potential ‘sick note’ was wise business?
So far, it hasn’t been and the club haven’t issued a likely return date for the former Brentford striker.
Villa have had a pretty poor return on circa £40m worth of strikers they bought in to fire them to promotion. It has to be remembered that last season loanee Lewis Grabban, who recently signed for Nottingham Forest, was Bruce’s recognised first choice striker even when Kodjia and Hogan were fit.
Maybe another loan can offer Villa hope and jump to the top of the tree of Villa’s striking options?
According to John Percy of the Daily Telegraph, Villa are in the ‘box seat’ against several other Championship teams to enlist the services on a season-long loan of Liverpool’s Ben Woodburn.
The 18-year-old Welsh attacker has carried the tag of ‘teen wonder’ and was impressive against Manchester United in Liverpool’s recent 4-1 stateside friendly win. The youngster had a difficult 2017/18 season, but Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp remarked after beating the Mancs that Woodburn is “100 percent back”.
If the loan is on, then it’s something that should be wrapped up at the beginning of next week you’d think, with reports of the player having already left Liverpool’s training camp.