Having been left out in the wilderness by Aston Villa with a string of loan moves to fellow Championship clubs, Scott Hogan looks like rekindling his best form after clinching a move to bitter rivals Birmingham City in January.
The pacy striker started his youth career at Rochdale, but had to be patient in getting his shot at first-team football at Spotland, as he left for non-league football between the years 2010 and 2013, with a number of clubs taking him in on a short-term basis before he finally completed a move back to Rochdale from Hyde.
It wasn’t the longest stint back at his first club as he only stuck around for the 2013/14 season, in which he played 40 games in total and amassed a very impressive 19 goals.
This form earned him a move to Brentford where he continued in a similar vein to net 21 times and assist once in 36 games, showing that the jump up from League One to the Championship was no problem for him.
As the Bees sat in and around mid table, the big-hitters in the division were sniffing around signing him and recently-relegated Aston Villa came in with a whopping £12million bid and clinched the signing of him. It wasn’t to be that season for both Hogan and Villa as they toiled around mediocrity.
Injury issues have plagued the striker throughout his career and his move to Villa Park saw these problems rise to the surface again, meaning that he struggled for any sort of consistency, along with very fierce competition for places alongside the likes of Lewis Grabban, Joanthan Kodjia and Tammy Abraham their time in the Championship.
With only 61 appearances to his name for the Villans since joining at the end of January in 2017, its proof that he hasn’t been able to prove why the club shelled out so much for him.
A loan to Sheffield United was on the cards for him in January 2019, and while the team enjoyed the success of promotion, he only managed two goals in eight appearances at another club whose competition for places was rife enough to push him onto the periphery.
Stoke City were the next team to take him in at the start of this season and his performances were more of a symptom of some serious struggles in the first half of the season under two separate managers.
WIth the Potters he managed to score two and assist another in 15 appearances, not near enough for a side placing a lot of hope in his goals keeping them in the division and beyond.
The January transfer window threw his future into further doubt as it was agreed that his loan would be terminated at Stoke to see him move elsewhere once again.
A move closer to home came this time with Pep Clotet’s Birmingham City signing him until the end of the season and the instant faith from the Spanish boss paid immediate dividends with Hogan netting on his debut.
A home clash against Nottingham Forest was set up to be a tough game, especially when Tiago Silva rifled the visitors into the lead. However, Hogan’s smart movement to get free at close range saw him divert Lukas Jutkiewicz’s header goal bound to put the Blues on their way to an eventual win.
With a debut goal under his belt, it was clear that Hogan’s confidence was going to be sky-high for the coming games and this came into fruition as he netted smartly in the next two games against Bristol City and Barnsley.
He fired a blank against Brentford in a 1-1 draw but made amends next week against Sheffield Wednesday with a goal and an assist in a captivating 3-3 draw. With a 0-0 draw against Millwall in the following game, it was a very quiet afternoon in the penalty area for Hogan and Birmingham City in general but there’s no shame in being held to a stalemate at the Den.
Can you name the year these players signed for Birmingham City?
The most recent game for Hogan was a trip to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium to face QPR, where he both of Birmingham’s goals to help them to yet another draw, four in a row now in the league. His first goal of the afternoon saw him smartly flick past the R’s ‘keeper before watching the ball trickle over the goal-line despite the home side’s best efforts to halt his progress.
A second goal for Hogan came to clinch a draw with much less style involved, but a sign of his poaching ability as he latched onto a flicked header at the back post to nod into the net and give Clotet a fourth straight draw.
There is no telling where Hogan’s future lies at the moment as he moves from club to club looking for consistency, but his Birmingham City performance so far have been marvellous and will go a long way into seeing him restore some confidence after a few very harsh years of injuries and less-than-inspiring spells in the Championship.
A permanent move in the summer could be on the cards and his goalscoring form at the moment would certainly see Birmingham tying down a player that is currently very important to their system, with his goals and assists already earning the Blues six points in the league, which would see them two points above the relegation zone without them.
After a huge run of injury problems, confidence would typically be shot in a player in Hogan’s situation but a fresh start with a new club has done him the world of good and long may it continue.