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BBC: The three reasons why McCormack omitted for Aston Villa v Preston

By Amir Mir

Steve Bruce has confirmed that Ross McCormack was absent for the Preston clash because of his fitness, attitude and time keeping.

Villa recorded a 2-2 draw against Simon Grayson’s side in front of their own fans without their record summer signing.

Striker McCormack has failed to inspire his team in their promotion push this season, despite being purchased to add goals to the recently relegated side.

After the Preston game, Bruce did not hold back when explaining why the out-of-form striker was missing for the matchday squad.

“In my opinion, he [McCormack] in nowhere near fit enough to play and be involved,” Bruce told BBC Radio West Midlands. “Unless his attitude towards everything changes then he is not going to be picked. I don’t think he is in a physical state or shape to contribute.

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“It is fair to say disciplinary measures have been made against him because of his attitude and continually missing training.”

McCormack joined Villa last summer from Championship rivals Fulham for a then record fee of £12million for the second tier.

The Scotsman has struggled for form and consistency this season as he has scored only three goals in all competitions.

He last scored against Burton Albion on Boxing Day, with his the goal previous to that coming against Nottingham Forest in September.

McCormack last appeared for Villa during their 1-0 loss against Midlands rivals Wolves where he missed a header from point-blank range in the first half.

With his absence, it means Villa only have one senior striker at the club at this moment in time in Gabby Agbonlahor.

Star man Jonathan Kojdia is currently away at the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast, while versatile attacker Jordan Ayew is representing Ghana.

Additionally, target-man Libor Kozak has failed to play a single minute under Bruce, as the club sold their other forward Rudy Gestede to Middlesbrough this month.

In other Aston Villa news, supporters react on Twitter to Gabby Agbonlahor’s performance against Preston.

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