Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has revealed that striker Jonathan Kodjia is set to undergo surgery on his ankle injury and that signing a back-up striker in January is now “vitally important”.

The 28-year-old was out for five months earlier this year with a broken ankle and was slowing getting back to his best, before he went over on the same ankle in the goalless draw against rivals Birmingham on October 29.

He recovered in time to go international duty with Ivory Coast, but suffered a recurrence of the same injury during the first training session and is now out of action.

He visited two different specialists in France and London over the weekend, both of whom confirmed that he required surgery.

Bruce confirmed the extent of the injury after last night’s Championship victory over Sunderland at Villa Park.

“It’s not looking good, in fact it’s flaming awful if I’m being honest,” said Bruce, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail.

“He needs another operation and that’s devastating news. It’s going to be months and that is a big blow to us.”

Kodjia was a key player for Aston Villa last season scoring 19 goals in 36 Championship appearances. He has scored one goal in eight league games for the Villans this campaign.

Bruce admitted that the club have already started looking at potential back-up strikers in January.

“Let’s hope we can find something in January to help us because that’s going to be vitally important,” he said.

The 2-1 win over Sunderland last night has seen Villa climb to fourth place in the Championship table. Bruce’s side face play-off hopefuls Ipswich at Villa Park on Saturday.

In other Aston Villa news, Bruce has admitted the two Villa players that struggled against the Black Cats last night.

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