Aston Villa’s automatic promotion hopes look to be over. Following on from their shock 3-1 loss to QPR in the week Steve Bruce’s men lost 1-0 at Bolton Wanderers yesterday.
The result leaves Villa in fourth place, but seven points behind Cardiff City in second. The Bluebirds also have a game in hand.
Villa never really got into the game against the Trotters and, after they beat Championship leaders Wolves 4-1, Villa have struggled.
As Villa began chasing the game yesterday, Steve Bruce made several changes to try and find a goal.
But one which shocked many Aston Villa fans was the decision to bring on Rushian Hepburn-Murphy.
The 19-year-old striker was brought on for Conor Hourihane in a bold and attacking move, which did not work.
The decision left the Villa formation misshapen. Not only that, but Hepburn-Murphy has barely had a kick all season. Suddenly thrusting the teenager into the spotlight seemed an odd move from Bruce.
The teen had played just 12 minutes of Championship football before being thrown into action yesterday. His call up to the first-team was likely a reward for a fine recent performance v Reading for the under-23s. But Hepburn-Murphy was not the answer to Villa’s problems yesterday afternoon.
Many Villa fans were surprised he was even on the bench in the first place. Bringing on Keinan Davis would have been a more logical move from Bruce. He also had Scott Hogan on the bench if he wanted to bring on another striker, but instead, Bruce tried the youngster.
It was a move that did not work and left Villa fans thoroughly frustrated with their manager yet again. It now seems Villa will have to settle for the play-offs, which they will try consolidate in the coming weeks.
Here is how some Aston Villa fans reacted to the decision to field Hepburn-Murphy yesterday afternoon…
Hepburn Murphy on…interesting choice.
— AVFC Worldwide (@AVFCWorldwide) March 17, 2018
Hepburn Murphy on is a weird one, would have put hogan ip
— Ryan (@R_e1080) March 17, 2018
Seriously? Hepburn murphy is shocking aswell…. terrible. Davis much better
— Shaun Sidaway (@ShaunySidaway) March 17, 2018
I like the lad but Hepburn Murphy?
— SM???? (@SimplySn0dgrass) March 17, 2018
Hepburn Murphy two miscontrols seriously Bruce not today you fool
— liam bradley (@liambradley15) March 17, 2018
Got to wonder about Bruce’s thinking with bringing on Hepburn Murphy when he has hardly had a kick all season!Desperation?
— Harry deVillan (@HDevillan) March 17, 2018
Can someone tell me the point of the Hepburn-Murphy change!?
— kyle (@KyIeEvans) March 17, 2018
Most lifeless performance ive seen in a long time. No fight, no need for Hepburn Murphy when we have Lansbury on the bench, game was crying out for Jedinak to start
— Adam (@TheFlozzman) March 17, 2018
Hepburn-Murphy? He’s useless
— callum kenny (@callumkenny) March 17, 2018
I think Hepburn Murphy has lots of potential but does he deserve a chance ahead of o hare?
— tony nash (@NashNash194) March 17, 2018
— Steve Evans avfc (@steveavfc52) March 17, 2018
Hogan and Davis sitting on the bench whilst Hepburn-Murphy comes on, that is all
— James (@JamesTuzzio) March 17, 2018