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The three best candidates for the vacant Aston Villa managerial role



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Going into the current international break languishing in 19th position in the Sky Bet Championship, Dr. Tony Xia, owner of Aston Villa decided the timing was right to pull the trigger and fire incumbent manager Roberto di Matteo.

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Villa have had a very poor, sluggish start to the season, winning just once and drawing on seven occasions. Villa were knocked out of the EFL Cup by Luton Town, and registered their only win against rock bottom side Rotherham United. They then went on to draw every single match in September after losing 3-1 to Bristol City despite leading at half time.

Hovering just two points above the drop zone is definitely not something the Villa faithful would have envisioned after 11 games played. Clearly something had to change, and unfortunately for Roberto di Matteo, after breaking the Championship transfer record on Jonathan Kodjia, lost his job.

So here are three potential next managers for Aston Villa:

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Aston Villa

Is Oscar Borg’s Aston Villa career at an end?

The young left-back is out of contract at Aston Villa this summer.



Photo: Getty Images

Back in March 2016, Aston Villa snapped up promising left-back Oscar Borg from West Ham United.

According to the Daily Mail, the defender had trials with Manchester United and was highly thought of at West Ham, but he made the move to Villa and was soon making an impact in the reserves.

Recently Aston Villa found themselves short of left-back options.

Neil Taylor was out of action and Alan Hutton was also missing. With Axel Tuanzebe struggling, Villa found themselves short in the position.

But instead of calling on Borg, Steve Bruce called up James Bree, playing out of position at left-back.

It seems Borg may not have been available for Bruce, even if the 20-year-old was set for a first league call-up.

He has not featured for Villa’s under-23s since the 6-1 win v Wolves last month, with Mitchell Clark featuring at left-back instead.

Borg is undoubtedly a top talent at Aston Villa but injuries have been a major problem for him since arriving at Bodymoor Heath.

He spent most of last season on the sidelines and this year needed to be a breakout campaign for the talented full-back.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images,)

Borg has played 13 times for Villa’s under-23s this term, as they hunt for success in the Premier League 2, where they are currently second in their section behind Blackburn Rovers.

But, despite being Villa’s only other natural left-footed left-back, bar Taylor, the 20-year-old has made little impact in the first-team.

Borg only signed a two-and-half-year deal when arriving at Villa in 2016 and that contract expires in the summer.

Considering his lack of impact and history of injury problems it will not be a surprise if Borg does not remain a Villain beyond the end of the season.

If he does move on, hopefully, he can remain fit and push toward a professional career elsewhere.

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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.



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.

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Aston Villa fans baffled by Steve Bruce’s risky Rushian Hepburn-Murphy move

The 19-year-old was a shock substitution by Aston Villa in yesterday’s Bolton defeat.



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.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images,)

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.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

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…

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