By Dominic Toner
Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce believes that the derby match against Birmingham at the weekend is the perfect platform for Scott Hogan to perform.
The 26-year-old forward has endured a frustrating start at Villa Park following his £12million arrival in January.
He has scored just one goal in 10 appearances so far, despite netting 14 times in 27 games for Brentford earlier in the season.
Hogan will hope to lead the line on Sunday for the crunch fixture against Midlands rivals Birmingham, especially with forward Jonathan Kodjia ruled out through injury.
Bruce feels that the pressure of a derby clash could be exactly what Hogan needs to ignite his Villa career.
“What an ideal game for Scott Hogan. Aston Villa v Birmingham could be the game that rockets him – we hope so,” Bruce said, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) April 21, 2017
Villa’s season is effectively over as they sit in 12th with just three games remaining, but a match against their great rivals will mean a lot to their supporters.
Hogan was expected to fire the Midlands club towards the promotion picture following his arrival, but he has been unable to recapture the form he showed in a Brentford shirt.
The striker has still scored as many league goals (15) as Player of the Year Anthony Knockaert, but just one of those has come in a Villa shirt.
Meanwhile, the weekend’s fixture means a lot to Birmingham as they look to avoid relegation to League One.
Harry Redknapp will take charge of his first game as manager, with the experienced boss replacing Gianfranco Zola during the week.
In other Aston Villa news, David Prutton has predicted the clash against Birmingham.