Surely it’s about time Aston Villa release the cotton-wool they have wrapped tightly around Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and give the 19-year-old a real run-out in the first team.

The youngster has been scoring goals for fun in the U23s – seven in his last six games – and with the run of form he is in, he could prove to be a vital component in the play offs with a chance for promotion to the Premier League still on the cards.

Hepburn-Murphy hasn’t yet totalled a full 90 minutes of action despite making three appearances for the senior side.

But as it stands, there is no one in the first team that is making the striking position their own so what reason does Steve Bruce have to hold the youngster back?

With just a handful of games left to play until the end of the season – just five to be precise – and eight points above Millwall, the chances of dropping out of the play offs at this stage is unlikely.

The rarely-seen striker can make the place his own in these final games.

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With Lewis Grabban’s loan set to end in the coming weeks, Scott Hogan flattering to deceive, and Jonathan Kodjia still rusty after a long-term injury, the stage is set for Hepburn-Murphy to star for Villa.

In other Aston Villa news, Aston Villa key first teamer firmly in running to be next Leeds signing – Football Whispers.

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