By Danny Wright
Steve Bruce has waxed lyrical about Gabriel Agbonlahor for the impact he made in Aston Villa’s 1-0 win against Birmingham on Sunday.
The 30-year-old came off the bench to raptures of boos and applause from both sets of fans as he is known for his knack of finding the net in West Midlands derby games.
He scored his first goal in 14 months when he scrambled the ball into the back of the net in the 68th minute to give his side all three points and resign Harry Redknapp’s side to further relegation worries.
Agbonlahor has come under fire from sections of Villa Park for his performances over the last couple of seasons, especially when they were relegated from the Premier League in 2016.
However he came back from a hamstring injury that has seen him sidelined since January to earn the second-city bragging rights for his fans.
“He’s reminded everybody what it means to him,” said Bruce on radio station BBC WM [Sunday, 2.15pm].
“As soon as he comes on he makes a challenge and lifts the whole stadium.
“It’s remarkable what he’s done in derby games and fair play to him – he’s won us the match.”
Agbonlahor now has five goals in 10 games against Birmingham throughout his career.
Redknapp’s side are just two points clear of the relegation zone with two games to play and Aston Villa’s next opponents Blackburn are the team currently occupying 22nd place.
If Bruce’s side lose at Ewood Park next week, and Blues fail to get a win against promotion-chasing Huddersfield, they will be in the bottom three going into their final game against Bristol City.
In other Aston Villa news, Football Insider analyses three things learned about Villa in the derby win.