Monday 14 October 2019

Whelan miss adds to Bruce's cabbage woe in Villa draw

James McClean: His presence will strengthen Martin O’Neill’s options for double-header. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
James McClean: His presence will strengthen Martin O’Neill’s options for double-header. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Steve Bruce had a cabbage thrown at him by an irate fan on a crazy night at Villa Park as Aston Villa let a 2-0 lead slip, had a man sent off, equalised in the 90th minute to make it 3-3 and then saw Glenn Whelan miss a penalty to win the game.

The manager endured chants of "We want Brucie out" from supporters in the Holte End after bottom team Preston roared back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 before the late drama.

Bruce has won just one of the last 10 matches and had reportedly just two games to save his job.

Villa striker Scott Hogan returned to the bench for the first time this year after a groin problem which should strengthen Martin O'Neill's options for the upcoming Nations Cup games with Denmark and Wales.

James McClean also delivered a welcome boost by making his return to action for Stoke City last night.

The Derryman was introduced as a second-half substitute in their victory over Bolton Wanderers, his first outing since he fractured his wrist preparing for Ireland's defeat against Wales last month.

O'Neill will be in Dublin tomorrow to name his squad for the forthcoming double-header with Denmark and Wales.

Declan Rice is still stalling over his international future, while it's believed that no resolution has been reached as of yet with exiled midfielder Harry Arter after his row with Roy Keane.

Leeds United and Middlesbrough remain joint top of the division after away wins against Hull City and Ipswich respectively.

Alan Judge made his first league start of the season for Brentford in their 1-1 draw at home to Birmingham - a significant step for the Dubliner in his protracted comeback from his horror leg break in 2016.

He furthered his case by scoring in last week's League Cup defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates.

Down in League One, Ronan Curtis continued his excellent season with Portsmouth by scoring the only goal of their win at Coventry.

Curtis has scored six times for his new club following his summer move from Derry City and O'Neill brought him to Poland last month.

The Ireland U-21 striker has put himself in contention for senior involvement before the year is out.

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