Bruce opens door for Agbonlahor return

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce has hinted that Gabriel Agbonlahor could be on the verge of making a return to the Villa first team. Speaking ahead of his sides clash with Blackburn at Villa Park on Saturday, Bruce praised Agbonlahor’s work rate since he took cover in charge of the team.

Bruce said “He’s done nothing but galvanise the squad since I’ve walked through the door.  Such is his influence in the dressing room, I included him in the squad for the Birmingham game and as soon as he came on the pitch we looked a lot better and he gave everyone a lift in the team.

Agbonlahor came off the bench for the final 10 minutes of the derby game at Birmingham last weekend, followed by an impressive performance in the Under 23’s 4-0 win over Blackburn on Monday night where he got two assists. Bruce is complementary about his talents saying “If I can get him right he can be the little bonus that as a manager you love to have.”

However, the former Hull City boss is wary of his fitness levels and the risk of injury, saying, “To play football at this level, or any level you need to be in a physical condition to last. Its a crucial 2 or 3 weeks for him and us to get the work in that needs to get him better and physically better.”

Bruce faces a selection dilemma with Jordan Ayew suspended this weekend, but he admitted he is still undecided as to whether Agbonlahor will feature against Blackburn,  “The big decision I’ve got tomorrow is whether I physically train him all weekend or if he’s involved again.”

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