This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Aston Villa have cut short striker Scott Hogan’s loan deal with Stoke City to allow him to join rivals Birmingham City until the end of the season, it has been confirmed on the Blues club website.
The 27-year-old Republic of Ireland international signed for Stoke on a season-loan back in August, but has started just five games for Michael O’Neill’s side, making 15 appearances in total, scoring three times.
The Blues have snapped up the former Brentford man, to add some depth up front to Pep Clotet’s side as they look to pull away from the Championship relegation zone.
What do you make of this signing for the Blues?
“I think he’s a strong option to have for any Championship side.
“Birmingham certainly needed a striker that could work alongside Lucas Jutkiewicz this season, and it will ease the pressure on the St. Andrew’s favourite to provide goals for the Blues.
“Hogan has a point to prove after a poor couple of seasons and he will needs# to find his shooting boots at St Andrews.
“If he can replicate the form he has previously shown with Brentford earlier in his career, then Birmingham will soon find themselves climbing the Championship table in the second-half of this year’s league campaign.
“Competition for places is never a bad dilemma to have for a manager and Hogan will definitely provide Pep Clotet with some thinking to do on his starting XI.”
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“Scott Hogan looks more and more like he’s a ‘one (half) season wonder’, but now he has a chance of a fresh start, and Birmingham could prove the ideal place for him to reignite his career. He netted 14 league goals in 25 games for Brentford which prompted Villa to sign him on the January deadline day in 2017.
“If he can recapture that form, then he’ll be a fine addition for Birmingham. They’ve relied too much on Lukas Jutkiewicz this season and as good as he in on his day, he’s not the man who’s going to fire Birmingham up the table. He needs competition up-front and Hogan will provide just that.
“He’s definitely needed by Pep Clotet. Jutkiewicz is his only real option up-front, which is baffling. If he was to get injured then Birmingham would be absolutely helpless – if anything was needed by Birmingham this month it was a striker, and despite Hogan’s Villa past, he’ll be warmly welcomed at Birmingham.
“I’m not sure if Hogan will start straight away. He will have to work for his chance but with the games coming thick and fast in the second-half of the season, rotation is going to come into play, and Hogan will get his fair chance to show Clotet and Birmingham fans what made him such a wanted striker at one point.”
“The move to sign Scott Hogan could be a smart piece of business from Birmingham City.
“The 27-year-old has had a tough time since moving to Aston Villa in January 2017 with injuries and a lack of opportunities stopping him from showing what he can do at this level.
“Hogan proved himself as a top marksman during his time with Brentford, but hasn’t really had the chance to establish himself since then.
“That’s why the move to Birmingham could be perfect.
“Hogan will be able to prove himself as the main man in attack and this is when the Blues will get the best out of him.
“Lukas Jutkiewicz is the main man at present, but the added competition from Hogan will be a real boost for Pep Clotet’s side – not to mention their direct style being perfectly suited to the Villa man.”