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Injured Villa striker won't be ready for opener at Stoke

Libor Kozak won't be back from a broken leg in time to open the season at Stoke in two weeks.

Paul Thomas

If Aston Villa were hoping to have any of their first-choice strikers ready for the season opener at Stoke, they're going to be sorely disappointed. Paul Lambert confirmed over the weekend that Libor Kozak will not be ready for the August 16 match. So much for that hope.

But luckily, with the return of Darren Bent, Villa aren't without options to fill the striker role. (Oh god, I just typed a sentence in which Darren Bent was an asset and it wasn't a joke and what is happening ohgodohgodohgodit'sterrible) If Lambert should actually play with two strikers he can choose from Andi Weimann, Darren Bent, Gabby Agbonlahor, Graham Burke, and Callum Robinson. We've seen almost nothing from the latter two, but that still leaves three players from which to choose.

And heck, if Lambert goes with the 4-3-3 he loved so much last year he will still have options. The resurgence of Charles N'Zogbia in the preseason will help give the manager choices, as will the strong play of Jack Grealish.

Nevertheless, it's a bit disheartening to hear that Kozak won't be quite ready yet. Though from the way Lambert has been talking, I'd expect to see him return to action (likely as the club's number-one striker until Christian Benteke is back) before September is up.