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Aston Villa

Steve Bruce’s lack of confidence in Scott Hogan made evident

The striker saw Rushian Hepburn-Murphy given a chance ahead of him v Bolton Wanderers.

Mathew Nash

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When Aston Villa snapped up Scott Hogan last January he looked a smart recruit. Villa paid a fee reported to be in the region of £12 million by the BBC.

Hogan had been in fine form with Brentford previous to the transfer being made.He had scored 21 goals in 34 games for the club since joining from Rochdale in July 2014.

Aston Villa were hopeful he could have a similar goalscoring impact at Villa Park. That has not exactly been the case. Hogan has managed just six goals in 44 league appearances for Aston Villa and has struggled to live up to his price-tag.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – MARCH 13: Steve Bruce manager of Aston Villa looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers at Villa Park on March 13, 2018 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images,)

After the Bolton Wanderers game yesterday, Hogan will be wondering where he stands at Villa Park.

Aston Villa lost 1-0 against relegation battlers Bolton Wanderers this weekend. The defeat was a bitter blow to Villa’s automatic promotion hopes, with Villa now seven points behind Cardiff City in second.

But whilst chasing the game, after Adam Le Fondre had given Bolton the lead, Bruce looked to the Villa bench. He decided to bring on another striker to partner Lewis Grabban up top. But, instead of going to Hogan, Bruce brought on 19-year-old Rushian Hepburn-Murphy.

The pacey striker had only played 15 minutes of first-team football this season and is yet to score a senior goal.

Hogan eventually did make his way onto the pitch but could not prove Bruce wrong for turning to the teenager instead.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – MAY 07: Paul Dummett of Newcastle United and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy of Aston Villa compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on May 7, 2016 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

But it highlights an obvious lack of confidence in the £12 million striker from Bruce. Hogan last scored in the Championship at the start of February and it is a serious concern as Villa now look likely to challenge for the play-off places in the Championship.                                                                                                                                                         

Hogan will hope he can take a chance to get back in the good books soon, after the Hepburn-Murphy experiment fell flat at the Macron Stadium. If not, then his future at Villa Park is looking increasingly bleak.

Aston Villa

Aston Villa must target these three loan signing before the window closes

The Championship outfit are still in the market for new additions before the loan window closes.

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Aston Villa
Photo: Getty Images

Aston Villa had looked to be heading into the 2018/19 campaign under strict financial implications but new ownership at the club has offered a new lease of life.

With new recruits hard to come by during the summer, boss Steve Bruce will now look to make some additions to his squad before the loan window slams shut at the end of the month.

The squad at Bruce’s disposal is still a decent one as far as the Championship goes and the Villains are still expected to be among the frontrunners for a promotion place come the end of the season.

The Boot Room looked at three players who would make quality loan additions between now and the end of the window…

Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham

It was Villa talisman Jonathan Kodjia who got the nod to start in attack in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Ipswich Town, but with the Ivory Coast international only recently back from a serious injury, the club might look towards attacking reinforcements.

Abraham appears to be down the pecking order at Chelsea and, although it might take a hefty loan fee to secure his services, his quality at Championship level is there for all to see.

The 20-year-old only netted five goals on loan at Swansea City last season, but his 23 goals on loan at Bristol City during the 2016/17 campaign should excite the Villa faithful, if a loan deal can be struck.

Sheyi Ojo

The Liverpool winger is subject of interest from Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest, but Steve Bruce also rates the player highly and could be preparing a move, according to the Daily Star.

The 21-year-old was on loan at Fulham last season and his four goals in 21 appearances helped the Cottages reach the play-off final – where they defeated Aston Villa.

Ojo’s ability to play on either wing would make him a solid addition to the Villa squad and his pace would petrify Championship defenders.

Robert Snodgrass

Although Snodgrass has featured in both of West Ham United’s top-flight games so far this term, there is still a small possibility that he could be loaned out if the right deal comes in.

The Scotsman and Aston Villa were a superb fit for each other last season and the 30-year-old scored eight goals and claimed 13 assists, adhering himself to the Villa faithful in the process.

Snodgrass is a superb player at Championship level and if Bruce can secure another temporary deal for the versatile attacker, the Villains would have every chance of an automatic promotion push.

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Aston Villa look to have dodged bullet after Toni Leistner’s horror show v West Brom

Aston Villa were keen on the German this summer.

Mathew Nash

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QPR addressed their centre-back shortage this summer by bringing in German defender Toni Leistner. It looked like a bargain. He joined the club on a free transfer from FC Union Berlin, where he had established himself as a top defender with a great reputation in the German lower leagues.

They were, however, not the only club interested in the player this summer. Aston Villa were also said to be keen on signing the player according to the Berliner Kurier.

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 14: Toni Leistner of Queens Park Rangers reacts during the Carabao Cup First Round match between Queens Park Rangers and Peterborough United at Loftus Road on August 14, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

In the end, Leistner headed to London. However, based on Leistner’s performance against Aston Villa’s rivals West Brom this weekend, it seems Steve Bruce has dodged a bullet.

The German was torn apart by the Baggies attacking prowess of Jay Rodriguez, Matty Phillips and Dwight Gayle.

He looked absolutely lost against the West Brom attack as QPR were put to the sword in a stunning 7-1 win from Darren Moore’s side.

Aston Villa looked like they were going to need to bring in centre-backs this season. With the departure of John Terry and Chris Samba you could still argue it is an area where Aston Villa are short.

However, Leistner does not look like he would have been the answer.

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Aston Villa’s Jed Steer treatment now looks even more baffling

Aston Villa allowed Jed Steer to join Charlton Athletic on loan this month.

Mathew Nash

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Aston Villa were held to a 1-1 draw by Ipswich Town yesterday, despite the Tractor Boys being down to 10-men. It was a game to forget for new Aston Villa number one Orjan Nyland.

The Norwegian international came to claim a long-throw midway through the first half. However, he barely got off the ground, spilled the ball, and Trevor Chalobah bagged Ipswich’s equaliser.

It was a big mistake from the £1 million signing from Ingolstadt. It also shed more light on what seems a baffling reshuffle of the goalkeeping department from Aston Villa.

After missing out on Sam Johnstone in the summer, a new recruit was expected. However, Aston Villa also had the bonus of a fit-again Jed Steer in their ranks.

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

The 26-year-old is a very talented keeper, whose career has been blighted by injuries. But he has been a Championship regular, playing 38 games on loan at Huddersfield Town in 2015-16.

Aston Villa started the season with the former England youth international between the sticks. However, the arrival of Nyland and Andre Moreira has seen him pushed down the pecking order yet again.

With that in mind, Steer joined Charlton Athletic on a season-long loan. The Addicks, can probably not believe their luck.

Steer is an excellent keeper who had done little to deserve more Aston Villa demotion. Nyland and Moreira are certainly not better options and it looks like Aston Villa have simply unsettled the goalkeeper position, once again, for little reason. No doubt, this is a baffling decision from Steve Bruce.

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