By Will Butcher

Steve Bruce is considering a move for a free agent striker after Scott Hogan was injured, according to a report.

The Birmingham Mail (11:14) claim Bruce is weighing up a number of strikers in the free agent market, after the emergency loan option was scrapped.

Bruce has been left with just Jonathan Kodjia available to lead the Midlands outfit’s attack, as Scott Hogan, Gabby Agbonlahor and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy all remain out injured.

Talking in his press conference last week, Bruce revealed that in the past he would have used the emergency loan market to bring a striker to Villa Park.

“In an ideal world I would get another striker in if I could. But I think it’s difficult now,” Bruce claimed, in quotes published by the Birmingham Mail.

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“In the past you could go and loan someone on get an emergency loan which I have used in the past.”

Villa were left with 10 men against Newcastle during their 2-0 loss last Monday, after Hogan fell awkwardly on his ankle. Bruce had already used all three substitutes before Hogan’s injury.

However, Bruce did reveal to the Birmingham Mail that the former Brentford goal machine’s injury was not as serious as first thought and that he could return in the beginning of April.

Hepburn-Murphy suffered an injury while in action with Villa’s reserve side, while Agbonlahor remains sidelined with a muscle problem picked up in training.

Football Insider verdict:

After finally ending their winless run of 10 games against Derby on Saturday, Bruce will be looking to build on the 1-0 win and push Villa further away from the relegation zone. Signing a new striker would play a key part in that aim, as Bruce looks to give Villa every chance of improving their current Championship position. An injury to Ivory Coast international Kodjia would now come as a bitter blow and could see them drift dangerously towards the bottom three, with cover desperately needed. Bruce has no choice, then, but to scour the free agent market. Meanwhile, it appears Libor Kozak’s future is almost certainly over, as Bruce would rather bring in a player without a club than turn to the Czech Republic international.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, here are three reasons why the relegated Premier League club should sign this former Villa playmaker.

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