COMMENT By Danny Wright
Aston Villa take on Newcastle in a crucial Championship clash on Monday night.
Steve Bruce’s side travel to St. James’ Park in search of their first win since Boxing Day and his Villa side are coming under fierce criticism from the fans.
None of the club’s January signings have appeared to make any sort of impact since joining and they will be under the microscope once more during this crunch tie.
Newcastle’s brilliant season highlights how poorly Villa have done this season.
The Magpies will return back to the top of the table if they win and they’re looking odds-on to secure an instant return to the Premier League this season.
Here are the three players to keep an eye on during Monday’s match:
The 21-year-old has a massive point to prove at Villa Park. He is dubbed as one of the greatest players to come through the Villa academy in years but he is yet to live up to that billing.
Grealish was sent off in the 2-1 loss to Nottingham Forest and went completely missing in Tuesday’s loss to Barnsley.
The winger has not scored since December and has only added one assist since, in the 2-1 defeat against Nottingham Forest.
The goalkeeper joined Aston Villa on a loan deal in January and has started every game for the club since.
Johnstone, who is on loan from Manchester United, is yet to keep a clean sheet for Bruce’s side, conceding 14 goals in seven games.
He’s also yet to win in an Aston Villa shirt, with five losses and a draw in his six games.
The trip to Newcastle is also a trip to the highest-scoring team in the league and it will be a massive test for the 23-year-old.
Facing the likes of free-scoring Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie and Ayoze Perez could make or break the young goalkeeper.
If there’s anyone who has a point to prove to the fans it is Villa’s most expensive January signing.
Hogan arrived from Brentford for an undisclosed fee believed to be worth up to £15million but is yet to score for the Birmingham-based club.
The striker was prolific for Brentford, scoring 14 league goals for the club this season before his move to Villa Park.
However he is yet to find his shooting boots for Bruce’s side sand all eyes will be on him tonight as he aims to start repaying his huge transfer fee.
The 24-year-old has already scored once against Newcastle this season in October when Brentford lost 3-1 in the north-east.
In other Aston Villa news, Bruce shares details of text message sent from Tony Xia.