By Harry Sykes
Ross McCormack returned to Aston Villa training on Monday – and was demoted to the Under-23s, according to a reliable journalist.
The Villa striker was publicly shamed by manager Steve Bruce after skipping training last week, with the Scotland international making the feeble excuse on one occasion that he could not get to training because the electric gates of his mansion were faulty.
Sky Sports New correspondent Kaveh Solkehol took to Twitter on Monday to reveal that McCormack had “turned up for Villa training today” as he jokingly referred to the gates of him home being fixed.
Tellingly, Solkehol reported on his personal Twitter account that the 30-year-old had been demoted from the senior side due to his conduct and been instructed to work with the Under-23s squad.
Latest on #gategate – Looks like gates at Ross McCormack house fixed. He turned up for Aston Villa training today – worked with U23 squad
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) January 23, 2017
The humiliating team switch suggests that the McCormack is increasingly likely to be heading out of the club in the final eight days of the January window.
Bruce, who is renowned for his calm man-management approach, took the drastic measure on Saturday night of outing McCormack publicly for skipping training, bad time-keeping and a poor attitude.
The stiker will be fined by the club after missing several training sessions, with Bruce claiming the player is “nowhere near” fit enough to play after leaving him out of the matchday squad that drew 2-2 against Preston on Saturday.
McCormack has had a disappointing campaign for Villa, scoring just three goals in 20 Championship matches, a far cry from the prolific form he consistently displayed for former clubs Fulham and Leeds.
At Craven Cottage last season, the versatile front man chipped in with 23 goals from 49 appearances, including 21 strikes and 10 assists from 45 league matches.
Villa are prepared to move the forward out before the end of the month, though Bruce’s public stance is that a speculated loan switch to Fulham is not currently on the agenda.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, speculation of a sensational forward deal intensified on Saturday evening.