It is pretty clear that Steve Bruce was not a fan of Aaron Tshibola at Aston Villa.
Former Aston Villa boss Roberto Di Matteo sanctioned a move reported by getreading to be worth £5 million to bring the player in from Reading in 2016. He was known to his assistant Steve Clarke from his time at the Berkshire club.
But once Di Matteo left, Tshibola dropped off the radar. Loan spells at Nottingham Forest and MK Dons followed before joining up with Clarke again at Kilmarnock last season. In the summer, Bruce again allowed him to head to Rugby Park.
But Bruce is gone, with Dean Smith now in charge at Villa Park.
Tshibola made it clear in October, talking to The Sun, that he was hopeful of getting another chance at Aston Villa.
“I feel I’m playing well. The new manager is in and hopefully the club are watching my games…I’ve got the rest of this season and the next season on my Villa contract and it would be ideal for me to prove that I deserve a place in the team.”
So is he worthy?
Last night he came on after a recent injury as Kilmarnock were thrashed 5-0 by Rangers at Ibrox.
However, that does not sum up his season with the Scottish side. Tshibola has been a near ever-present in midfield as Killie kept Celtic and Rangers on their toes for much of the season in the Scottish title race. That challenge has stumbled after six games without a win, but Tshibola has been in fine form this season.
At the very least, he deserves a full pre-season at Aston Villa to try and convince Smith that he is capable of helping the club in what is looking increasingly like another season in the Championship.