Scott Hogan set for a key role at Aston Villa
Boss Dean Smith has vowed to help rebuild Scott Hogan’s confidence with the striker poised to play an increasingly important role for Villa.
Hogan, who missed the opening months of the season through injury, was handed his first start of the campaign in Saturday’s 3-0 FA Cup defeat to Swansea but struggled to make an impact after missing two early chances.
The 26-year-old has endured a largely frustrating time since joining Villa in a £12million move from Brentford two years ago.
But both he and Jonathan Kodjia are now expected to see more playing time as Smith calls on them to fill the void left by Tammy Abraham, who is poised to join Wolves.
The boss, who managed Hogan while in charge of Brentford, said: “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.”
Hogan has not found the net for Villa since last April and Smith continued: “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.”
For the first time since taking charge in October, Smith was scathing in the assessment of Villa’s performance, after they crashed out of the Cup at the third-round stage for the third year running.
“I’ve not seen the players show that lack of energy before,” he said.
“In the second half, we showed a lot more energy, yet we lose the second half 2-0 instead of 1-0.
“But it was more of what we’re about.
“I just said to the players, the supporters love (midfielder) John McGinn because he plays every game like it is his last game.
“We want more players like that and we will get the supporters behind us then.”