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5th Mar, 2017 | 12:09pm

Bruce delivers injury update on senior Aston Villa player, fans will be encouraged

By Matt Farr

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has hinted that Scott Hogan could return from injury sooner than expected.

The 24-year-old sealed a move to Villa Park from Brentford in the January transfer window, but has seen his start to life at the Midlands club halted by injury.

Hogan fell awkwardly on his ankle during the 2-0 Championship defeat to Newcastle on February 12, and was initially ruled out for up to five weeks.

However, speaking to the Birmingham Mail, Bruce has confirmed that Hogan is making good progress and could be set to return earlier than expected.

Hogan is one of nine Aston Villa players currently sidelined through injury, giving Bruce a major selection headache over the coming weeks.

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Bruce said: “There’s good news involving Hogan, he might be available for us soon.

“But we certainly don’t need any more injuries. All of a sudden we’ve picked up six or seven in a week, that’s the downside, all in games, so we’ll see how a few of them are.”

Fans will be encouraged by the news that Hogan could be back in action earlier than first feared, but they will still be worried at the number of first-team players currently sidelined.

Midfield duo Jack Grealish and Birkir Bjarnason were the most recently casualties in Bruce’s first-team squad.

Bjarnason suffered a knee ligament injury during in the win over Rotherham on Saturday, and was replaced on the pitch by Grealish.

However, Grealish was also later forced off with an injury, requiring seven stiches in his knee.

Andre Green and Gabriel Agbonlahor (both hamstring), and Gary Gardner and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (both ankle) are the other notable long-term injury absentees in the Aston Villa first-team squad.

Meanwhile, Leandro Bacuna still has five games left to serve of his six-match suspension for headbutting a linesman in the Championship win over Bristol City last week.

In other Aston Villa news, Jonathan Kodjia has sent a message to fans following the Rotherham victory.

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