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Dean Smith hails the impact of one Aston Villa man after weekend draw

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Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has hailed the impact of forward Jonathan Kodjia, after his late goal salvaged a point against Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.

The 29-year old came off the bench and put in a very impressive display for the Villans in the latter stages of the game, and capped off a fantastic cameo with a late strike to salvage a point for Smith’s men.

And Smith, speaking to the club post-match, said: “He made a difference because we weren’t creating that many great chances at that time – we had to change it a little bit and he came on and certainly changed it.”

“He’s done really well – I decided to rest him, as I said, and Anwar took his chance. But that’s what I want – the players pushing each other to try and get in the team and to play.”

Kodjia has found it tough at times this season – the Ivorian was in and out of the starting line-up under Steve Bruce, and has been named on the bench for three successive league games.

The result against the Potters means that Villa now remain 8th in the Championship table, three points off Middlesbrough in 6th position, with 7th place Nottingham Forest playing on Monday night.

The Verdict

What an impact Kodjia made.

He came on and looked back to his best – he was strong, fast and direct and really stretched the Stoke defence in the dying embers of the game.

It was a great decision to put him on at that time and Kodjia will now be determined to earn a starting berth more regularly.

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Nottingham-based journalist who regularly covers Nottingham Forest home and away.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Dean Smith hails the impact of one Aston Villa man after weekend draw

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