Scott Hogan primed for key role with Aston Villa in promotion hunt

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has said that the club will seek to get Scott Hogan back to scoring ways after returning from a long-term injury. The 26-year-old made his first start of the campaign during the disappointing 3-0 defeat to Swansea City in the FA Cup third round but there were nonetheless positives with the striker handed two scoring chances at the beginning.

Speaking after the game, Smith highlighted that things could have been different for the marksman, had he had better luck during the Cup meeting versus the Swans. He added that the club are depending on Hogan to start finding the scoresheet regularly, given they are primed to lose Tammy Abraham, who appears set to join Wolverhampton Wanderers this month.

“Scotty could have scored a couple on Saturday. The goalkeeper has been fortunate with the one and Scotty was unfortunate with the other. But that is a job for us to work on, to build his confidence up and get him scoring goals again. With goalscorers, their currency is goals. If they come off the pitch having played well but not scored, all goalscorers still think they haven’t played well,” he said.

“Abraham has generally handled the scoring burden for the Villains over the past few months “ and he has quickly become the joint-Championship top scorer with 16 goals. However, the good run of form has meant that parent club Chelsea are prepared to recall him from “the season-long loan “and they are thereafter expected to sanction his move to Wolverhampton Wanderers, though the deal should be temporary for the campaign.

Owing to this, Dean Smith is likely to want other players within the squad to step up and the onus could be Hogan and Jonathan Kodjia, in particular, given the duo were among the key performers for the club during the promotion push last season. Villa are currently five points behind the top six after winning just one of the previous six league matches.