By Danny Wright
Aston Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia has returned to training well ahead of schedule, according to a report.
The Birmingham Mail claims that the 27-year-old has received a stunning boost in his recovery from a broken ankle, despite undergoing surgery in early May.
Kodjia missed the final game of Villa’s 2016/17 campaign after suffering a serious foot injury in the 1-0 loss to Blackburn on April 29.
Manager Steve Bruce initially feared that the former Bristol City star could be sidelined for up to half a year with the setback, meaning he could have missed the beginning of next season.
“The summer plans were always with Kodjia available for next year, considering the year he has had,” said Bruce just after the injury happened at Ewood Park, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail.
“They are telling us it is three to four months, which probably means the best part of six months.”
However it now appears that Kodjia’s hard work to return to action has proved fruitful, as it now looks as though he could be in line to take part in the first match of Villa’s upcoming Championship campaign.
SkyBet currently have the Villains priced at joint favourites to win the league title next season alongside recently relegated Middlesbrough at 7/1.
That possible outcome will surely be assisted by a fully-fit Kodjia, who scored 19 goals in 40 league matches during his debut season at Villa Park.
The nine-times Ivory Coast international was part of a huge summer overhaul last year which was spearheaded by Roberto Di Matteo.
Since the Italian boss left, Kodjia kicked into life under the leadership of Bruce and scored ten times after returning from African Cup of Nations duty in late January.
In other Aston Villa news, the club’s move for this experienced international has been hijacked by one of their bitter rivals.