Steve Bruce revealed more problems in regards to Aston Villa’s striking options yesterday during the pre match press conference ahead of their visit to Queens Park Rangers today.
Bruce’s men go into the fixture with Keinan Davis as the only recognised, regular striker available due to injuries to both Scott Hogan and Jonathan Kodjia.
Bruce explained how Kodjia had broken down whilst on duty for Ivory Coast in their failure to secure a spot in Russia 2018, whilst Hogan will be out for around a month after undergoing a stomach operation.
Gabriel Agbonlahor continues to miss out and is only just coming back into the mix following a calf injury and Ross McCormack continues on loan at Melbourne City with Villa unable to play him until February should he be recalled.
Keinan Davis has impressed with his energy, tenacity and strength, but it’s a big job to single handedly be the man to look to as Villa attempt to push on towards securing a top six place.
Steve Bruce has made it clear that promotion is the target and anything less would be seen as a failure therefore the lack of strikers must be a priority when the transfer window reopens in January.
With the ever present debate about players being played in their correct positions, it’s hard to see who would fill the void or step in if Davis was to become injured or suspended.
The loan market is something that Villa haven’t really exploited well over the years in my opinion. Too frequently cheap or overinflated panic buys have been favoured but with us not knowing the true extent of the injuries to the current absentees, a loan would make perfect sense.
Add into the fold that chairman Dr Tony Xia has cautiously said that we need to be realistic and careful as opposed to reckless with the rules of Financial Fair Play being a big factor in how business is conducted.
One player that is struggling to get game time under his current boss, is Southampton striker Charlie Austin.
Austin ticks many boxes, a shrewd finisher and he boasts an impressive goal scoring record.
Working his way up through the non-league, Austin was spotted by Swindon Town after scoring 48 goals in a season at Poole Town.
In the two years Austin spent at County Ground, he scored 31 goals in 54 appearances.
The climb up the leagues continued as Burnley secured his services ahead of the 2011/12 campaign.
Austin spent five years between Burnley and Q.P.R. playing 82 times for both teams respectively.
41 goals for Burnley and 45 goals for Q.P.R. followed, including an impressive feat of being the fourth highest goalscorer in the 2014/15 season when the Hoops finished bottom of the Premier League.
Austin moved to Southampton in the January window of 2016 but his appearances were initially hampered by injury.
The recent appointment of Mauricio Pellegrino has seen Austin only manage 8 appearances this season, all off the bench late on and he scored in the 3-2 home win over West Ham back in August.
Just this week Austin scored a hat trick in a closed doors friendly against Fulham to push for a starting berth.
It would be difficult to say whether Austin would drop back to the Championship but a loan option until the end of the season, regular competitive football and the chance to showcase what he does best may be the tonic both he and Aston Villa need going into 2018.