By Matt Farr

Aston Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia has issued a rallying cry to his team-mates ahead of the Midlands derby with Birmingham on Sunday.

The 27-year-old took to his personal Twitter account on Sunday morning to send a message of support to the Aston Villa players, calling for them to ‘fight like lions.’

Kodjia has been a key player for Aston Villa this season, but he is set to miss the high-profile clash with Birmingham through suspension.

The Ivory Coast international was shown a straight red card during Aston Villa’s 3-1 defeat to Fulham last time out for an alleged kick on Ryan Fredericks, and was initially ruled out for three matches.

However, following a successful appeal by the club, Kodjia saw his ban reduced to just one game, meaning he will be available to face Blackburn and Brighton.

But he will not play a part in the crucial rival clash with Birmingham at Villa Park.

He has scored 19 goals for the Championship club this season, and is just one goal shy of becoming the first Aston Villa player since Peter Withe to net 20 league goals in a single season.

Aston Villa can move back above Cardiff into 12th place in the Championship with a win over struggling Birmingham, who are just two points clear of the relegation zone.

In other Aston Villa news, Ian Taylor has revealed how many players Villa need to buy this summer.

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