Gabby Agbonlahor expects fit-again Libor Kozak to give Aston Villa major boost

The Czech striker marked his first senior appearance in 19 months with a goal during last weekend's pre-season opener against Fulham.

Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor has told AVTV that he is looking forward to playing with a fit-again Libor Kozak this coming campaign.

Kozak, 26, made his first senior appearance in 19 months as a half-time substitute in the weekend’s pre-season opener against Fulham and took just 12 minutes to find the back of the net, latching onto Joe Cole’s through ball to deliver a confident finish.

It was the Czech Republic international’s first goal since scoring against Stoke in December 2013, having suffered a serious leg break in training the following month and endured an arduous battle to return to the pitch since.

However, he is now back working with the first-team and, having looked impressive, Agbonlahor believes that his fellow forward’s return will be a huge boost for the claret and blues.

Speaking from the club’s pre-season training camp in Portugal, the long-serving Villain said: “I’ve felt so sorry for him. It’s been horrible to watch him go through his rehab.

“To come out here now and get a pre-season under his belt, he’s going to have a smile on his face.

“A lot of people crumble with that sort of injury – it was a shocking one – and he’s had loads of downs and setbacks in his rehab.

“But he’s got back and he’s flying at the moment, and I think that’s good for the club.

“Before he got injured he was flying as well, keeping the other strikers out of the team with his goal and his play, so I think it’s great for the club to add another striker for competition.

“I enjoy playing with him so, again, it’s great for the club.”

 2013-14 Premier League PositionTeamGoalsGoals MINSTotal ShotsShooting AccuracyAssistsTotal Key PassesHeaders WonHeader SuccessAppearancesMins Played
Libor Kozák FW Aston Villa 4 195.25 11 64% 0 8 44 34% 14 781

Kozak had been expected to make his initial comeback during the first half of last season, before complications in the healing process forced him to go under the knife for a second time in October.

The tall front man has admitted that he feared his career was over at the time but he would go on to make substantial progress in his rehabilitation over the following months and even managed to feature for the Under-21s in April’s 1-0 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

A back problem prevented him from making his first-team comeback during the run-in but things now look promising for the 2015-16 season and, with Christian Benteke edging towards a Villa departure, he could be set to fill a bigger role than anticipated.

Replacing the Belgian outright would be a tough ask but, having netted four times in his first 15 appearances after arriving from Lazio in September 2013, there is good reason to believe he can prove a solid Premier League target man going forward.

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