A lot has been made of Aston Villa’s injuries in recent weeks, but Villa have had a squad to deal with it in large. However, with Jonathan Kodjia out and the other big striker buys misfiring, the position of striker was always a precarious situation, if the impressive Keinan Davis wasn’t fit.
The 19-year-old’s absence from the first team against Derby was a surprise to supporters, as the player didn’t have any known injury or knock in the run-up to the game.
“We were rocked with Keinan Davis being ill overnight, but I don’t want to make excuses,” reflected Bruce, after the game.
“He’s sick. He was ok yesterday but then we spoke to him this morning and he was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed.
“It’s disappointing but in the middle of winter these things happen.
“Of all the people you need it to happen to at the moment, it’s not Davis.”
Equally surprising was the Villa bosses’ decision to not replace Davis directly with a recognised striker. Since both Scott Hogan and Gabby Agbonlahor were on the bench, it was a bold decision.
“In hindsight you could say maybe I should have started one of them but I decided to go the way we did,” admitted Bruce.
Ultimately, it back-fired, but whether Hogan or Agbonlahor would have done any better is open to debate.