Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce has voiced his hopes that Jonathan Kodjia’s latest operation on his injured ankle has worked, with the striker about to begin rehabilitation in France.

Kodjia aggravated a previous ankle injury in November while on international duty with the Ivory Coast, and has undergone a second operation this year on the troublesome issue.

The 28-year-old spent five months on the sidelines earlier this year with the injury, before making his return in September.

The striker scored one goal in eight Championship appearances before suffering the second injury, and his absence has left Villa desperately exposed up front.

Bruce has now given an update on the forward’s condition after his second operation.

Speaking after Villa’s 2-2 draw with Sheffield United on Saturday, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail, he said: “He’s in France but there’s no work to be done at the moment, he just needs rest and time. He’s had the operation. I think he’s in a boot again and fixed with a plaster cast for the next six weeks. Part of his rehabilitation will again be in Clairefontaine and we go through all the rigmarole again unfortunately.

When asked if the operation had done the trick, Bruce replied: “We thought the first one did, but certainly the second one. We hope it bloody has!”

Kodjia’s absence has been worsened by injury problems to fellow striker Scott Hogan, who is just making his way back into contention, and 19-year-old Keinan Davis has been tasked with leading the line for most of the season so far.

Villa now sit in sixth in the Championship after their draw with the Blades, and face Brentford in a Boxing Day clash at Griffin Park.

In other Aston Villa news, the club are set for a January battle to keep hold of this favourite.

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