Steve Bruce feels squeeze of Financial Fair Play as Aston Villa injuries mount
Villa boss was unaware of club's FFP concerns when he joined
By James Dale
Last Updated: 30/11/17 12:09pm
Steve Bruce admits Aston Villa must be "creative" in the January transfer window to replace injuries, amid Financial Fair Play restrictions.
Villa have won nine of their last 12 Sky Bet Championship games and have the opportunity to go third if they beat Leeds United on Friday, live on Sky Sports Football.
But injuries to John Terry (broken metatarsal), Jonathan Kodjia (ankle) and Scott Hogan (stomach) have threatened to curtail Villa's rise up the table, with Bruce confirming Mile Jedinak may also be out for at least a month with a shoulder problem.
Villa's owner, Tony Xia, this week revealed the club would need to limit transfer funds to avoid breaching FFP rules after spending heavily in 2015 and 2016, leaving Bruce exploring alternative options in January to ease their injury problems.
"We've been unfortunate with the injuries, everybody gets injuries, but the one thing you want to do is to make sure it doesn't derail you," said Bruce.
"So far, touch wood, it hasn't. But I'm realistic to know we would be better to have Hogan, Kodjia, John Terry and Mile Jedinak fit.
"They're a big loss to any team, particularly someone like us - the spine of us. It's what you build your team around.
"I know we don't have millions to spend, however, the loan market has been very kind to us - [Robert] Snodgrass, [Josh] Onomah, Sam Johnstone - we'll have to be a bit creative and see if there's anybody out there that can give us a hand."
Bruce turned to free transfers in the summer in the form of Terry, Chris Samba and Ahmed Elmohamady, admitting he did not know his budget would be restricted by FFP regulations when he took the job at Villa Park.
"No, I don't think anyone did," he said. "It's something that you don't ask. But we are aware of it now.
"It's difficult, but we've managed to cope with it. We've got good players in our squad. We'd love to be in the position where you go and target a centre forward, with millions to spend, but we don't have that luxury."
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Bruce believes Villa's opponents on Friday, Leeds, are one of 10 clubs that can still mount a promotion challenge, but believes the stature of the two clubs makes the fixture one worthy of more than its current Championship status.
"Leeds [against] Aston Villa would grace any league, with the support, the history, the great atmosphere," he said. "It'll be a noisy Friday night."
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