STRIKER OUT AND OTH­ERS TO GO AT VILLA

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINAL - By Luke Baker

TWELVE months af­ter rel­e­ga­tion, As­ton Villa have failed to bounce straight back to the Premier League and man­ager Steve Bruce is un­der no il­lu­sions about the amount of work that needs to be done.

Villa en­tered the fi­nal day of the sea­son with 16 wins and the same num­ber of losses but have never threat­ened an im­me­di­ate re­turn to the top flight.

The club were 19th in the ta­ble when Bruce took over from Roberto Di Mat­teo in Oc­to­ber.

And, with a busy sum­mer ex­pected at Villa Park, the man­ager con­cedes there is plenty on his to-do list be­fore pre-sea­son rolls around.

“I still stress that we’ve got a lot to do,” said Bruce.

“We have the next three months, which are vi­tally im­por­tant to get a set­tled squad to­gether, to try to clear out what’s gone on in the past, to try to sort out the fu­tures of those out on loan and have a good re­view of ev­ery­thing.

“Of course, I’ve still got a lot to sort out.

“There are too many play­ers out on loan. That has to be sorted.”

Striker Li­bor Kozak, 27, has al­ready been re­leased by Villa, with his con­tract due to end in the sum­mer.

He made just 22 ap­pear­ances and scored four goals in his four-year ten­ure.

And Bruce revealed that he won’t be the last player to be shown the exit door at Villa Park over the com­ing weeks af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing cam­paign.

“Al­ready, big Li­bor Kozak has gone and I’m sure there’ll be one or two oth­ers over the next few months,” he added.

“Also, I think we’ve proved over the last cou­ple of years that throw­ing money at it isn’t al­ways the an­swer.

“How­ever, we’ve got to look at the whole sit­u­a­tion.

“It’s a big, im­por­tant time for us, so we’ll see what de­vel­ops over the sum­mer.”

DE­CI­SIONS: Steve Bruce

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