Almost a Terry-ble evening for Bruce
IT may be time for Steve Bruce to send another SOS to John Terry as the Aston Villa boss once again found himself in the firing line.
Bruce was already under the cosh as far as some fans were concerned following a 4-1 hammering at Sheffield United a fortnight ago.
And he was forced to suffer chants of, “We Want Bruce Out” by some of the 4,000 travelling Villa fans.
But a brilliant free-kick from substitute Conor Hourihane in added time at least gave Bruce some breathing space.
With Villa in dire straits they were awarded a free-kick just outside the box which Hourihane curled around the wall and past keeper David Raya.
But nothing less than a promotion charge will be accepted this season with the club under new ownership – which means expectations are sky high.
After the Bramall Lane battering and with Terry’s move to Moscow falling through, Bruce admitted he would have the defender who spent last season at Villa Park “back in a heartbeat”.
Wages of £60,000 a week have been the stumbling block but the message came over loud and clear at Ewood Park following this latest defeat – pay up for the former Chelsea man.
Villa’s reshaped defence had lived dangerously and they were finally punished 14 minutes from time when in a hectic goalmouth scramble Bradley Dack celebrated his return to the side after injury with a clever back-heel from Danny Graham’s shot.
Villa were also left rueing missed chances from on-loan striker Tammy Abraham.
After dominating from the kick off they suddenly found themselves on the back foot as Charlie Mulgrew pumped in a cross and Corry Evans headed downwards only for keeper Orjan Nyland to scramble the ball off the line.
Bruce then experienced emotions of elation and frustration in quick succession. A Dack header from a Mulgrew cross was disallowed for offside but when John McGinn went tumbling, Villa’s strong penalty appeals were in vain.