Aston Villa will be without the services of Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, after the 20-year-old striker picked up yet another injury, per reports in the Birmingham Mail.
Hepburn-Murphy has had a torrid season injury-wise, after first picking up an ankle knock while away at the club’s pre-season training camp in Portugal. Once shaken off, a brief return to action under Steve Bruce followed but he was soon back on the medical bench with a hamstring injury.
The former Aston Manor pupil eventually made his return from injury against Reading last Sunday, when he netted for Villa’s U23s.
But the Birmingham Mail report that he was hauled off injured against Derby on Thursday night when he went down under a heavy challenge in the Premier League Cup encounter.
Not only will Hepburn-Murphy now have an unclear future with the physio as the club continues to assess the injury, if it proves to be a lengthy absence his first team future could come into doubt.
Under Bruce, the 20-year-old was called on from the bench in five Championship games and started twice in the Carabao Cup, but mostly thanks to his hamstring injury he’s had little opportunity to show his worth to Dean Smith.
Instead, Smith has utilised Tammy Abraham and Jonathan Kodjia, but the duo are not producing many goals either as Villa overall have only scored 24 times in 16 Championship games, leading to the manager questioning what areas of the pitch he will improve in January.
Instead of focusing on strengthening the back line or giving the young forward a chance, Smith may now elect to bring in another proven strike option. In the long run, that will only affect Hepburn-Murphy’s chances of becoming a first-team regular.