Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce believes that Conor Hourihane should feel harshly done by his exclusion from the starting XI in recent weeks.
Hourihane was a regular at Villa Park last season under Bruce, scoring 11 goals from midfield and playing a crucial role in helping Villa finish fourth and reach the play-off final.
However, Hourihane has found his opportunities limited during the 2018/19 campaign, with Bruce preferring John McGinn alongside Jack Grealish and Mile Jedinak or Glenn Whelan.
The Irish international has started just one Championship fixture so far this season.
Bruce left Hourihane out on Saturday against Blackburn Rovers, but was forced to turn to the midfielder to rescue his side a point at Ewood Park.
The 27-year-old scored with an injury-time free-kick to help Villa to a 1-1 draw.
Discussing Hourihane with the Birmingham Mail, Bruce said: “He’s had a frustrating time and he can feel harshly done by but the form of McGinn has given us something to think about.
“But since he’s walked through the door he’s been a terrific player.”
After their dramatic draw with Blackburn, Villa are back in action this week, with Rotherham United visiting Villa Park.
Villa will be looking for just their third victory of the season against Rotherham, who have picked up nine points this season on their Championship return.
Hourihane should feel incredibly disappointed to be left out of a struggling Villa squad.
Last season he was terrific, and even now, his impact from the bench is better than what some of Villa’s other midfielders are producing.
Bruce needs to find a way of getting Hourihane, Grealish and McGinn on the pitch at the same time.
Thoughts? Let us know!