COMMENT by Amir Mir
Ross McCormack walked through the doors at Villa Park on August 4th, signing a deal worth £12million on a four-year contract.
The 30-year-old Glaswegian brought with him an abundance of Championship experience, leadership and goals – qualities Villa were craving after a humiliating relegation from the Premier League.
Fast forward four months and the Championship’s second most expensive transfer is struggling in the colours of claret and blue.
He has scored only two goals in 13 league appearances, but despite certain sections of Villa Park keen to see him leave in January the Scot will become an important figure in Villa’s promotion push later on in the campaign.
McCormack has been utilised in a centre-forward role on just one occasion this term, with teammate Jonathan Kodjia – who has scored five goals in his last five games – being preferred.
But Ivory Coast international Kodjia will be participating in the Africa Cup of Nations for his home country this winter and could be missing from January 14 – February 5.
This will make McCormack, who has scored 118 goals from 319 games in the second-tier, a very important figure for Steve Bruce’s side.
Villa face two possible promotion-chasing contenders during that five-game period – Bristol City and Brentford.
The former Fulham man, who netted 21 goals for the struggling Cottagers last season, will have the chance to showcase his true qualities and play in his natural position up top.
Furthermore, versatile forward Jordan Ayew and winger Albert Adomah will also be playing in the AFCON, which leaves just Rudy Gestede and Gabby Agbonlahor as the other goal-scoring options.
McCormack’s ability to use his clever footballing brain inside the six-yard box, use both feet and take set-pieces will restore his confidence.
To date he has been unable to show these qualities, but he will come good when his team need him most.
In other Aston Villa team news, these are the three players to look out for when Steve Bruce’s side travel to Brighton on Friday.