Aston Villa hold a slender 1-0 lead going into the second leg of their playoff clash with Middlesbrough, but does Jonathan Kodjia deserve a start?
You’d have been hard pushed to find a more popular figure around Villa Park last summer than Jonathan Kodjia, as the towering striker bagged 19 league goals in his first season with Aston Villa, matching his total at Bristol City from the season before.
The Ivory Coast international has grabbed five goals in ten caps for his country, and is quite simply a goalscoring machine when he’s at his best.
Unfortunately for the 28 year-old, he fractured his ankle twice in 2017, and several setbacks meant he barely played a part for the Villans this season.
The towering target man returned to action recently though, and has been slowly eased back towards full fitness by Steve Bruce, starting just two of the eight appearances he’s made in 2018.
Bruce’s side hold a 1-0 lead in their playoff battle with Boro courtesy of Mile Jedinak’s goal, and Kodjia played 19 minutes in the win on Saturday.
The 28 year-old struggled though, as he was brought on to hold the ball up and only really did that successfully once, while giving Boro a couple of free kicks along the way.
Although Villa are at home in Tuesday’s second leg, if Kodjia can improve his hold-up play it could be a huge asset for Steve Bruce, and what a story it would be if he scored the tie’s crucial second goal.
This is what Kodjia has been working towards, this is what he has come back for, the Ivory Coast international deserves to start against Middlesbrough.
Aston Villa fans, Should Kodjia start on Tuesday? Let us know by voting in the poll below…