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Steve Bruce expects quiet start to the January transfer window at Aston Villa

Steve Bruce does not expect Villa’s transfer window to start heating up until toward the end of the month.

Sam Johnstone
Sam Johnstone

The boss is eager to bring in another striker to bolster a forward department still feeling the loss of last season’s top scorer Jonathan Kodjia to long-term injury.

But Villa’s need to remain within the parameters of Financial Fair Play mean Bruce is limited to the loan market and he does not anticipate any business being done until later in the month.

“With loans in particular, I don’t think it will happen until the end of January,” he said.

“You always want to do it sooner but we haven’t got anything lined up. There are one or two things bubbling, which you would probably expect.

“There are one or two things now we would like to go and invest in. Obviously with the situation we are in, we can’t.”

Villa’s 5-0 New Year’s Day win over Bristol City, which saw Scott Hogan bag a first league goal of the season, was particularly timely and Bruce has also handed substitute appearances to teenage forward Rushian Hepburn-Murphy in the last two games.

The club, meanwhile, remain confident of hanging on to goalkeeper Sam Johnstone beyond the current window.

Reports over the weekend had again suggested the 24-year-old could be recalled by parent club Manchester United this month, with Albion among several Premier League clubs tracking his progress.

Johnstone has been in excellent form for Villa this season.

But Bruce said: “I spoke to (United boss) Jose Mourinho two days ago and I would have thought he would have mentioned something.

“I haven’t heard anything. We certainly don’t want it to happen.”

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