Aston Villa's Libor Kozak desperate to prove his worth amid club's summer business

The fit-again striker has bagged three goals in pre-season but knows that filling the departed Christian Benteke's boots will prove a tough ask.

Aston Villa striker Libor Kozak is hoping that his pre-season form can help earn him a regular role in Tim Sherwood’s side following the recent departure of Christian Benteke.

Kozak, who scored in Villa’s pre-season opener against Fulham, was speaking to the Birmingham Mail after netting another two goals in the 2-2 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this week.

The Czech Republic international struck either side of half-time and could have even had a hat-trick within the opening stages, having hit the bar and then headed a Jordan Amavi cross just wide not long after giving the visitors a sixth-minute lead with a stellar long-range blast.

After being out of first-team action for 19 months following a career-threatening leg-break, the towering forward has battled back from two operations to establish himself as one of Villa’s star players in recent weeks and, with Benteke now at Liverpool, certainly looks more than deserving of regular minutes heading into the new season.

However, when it comes to replacing his former teammate’s goalscoring impact, the ex-Lazio man admits that he might need some help from his fellow front man.

“I was out for a long time and people can forget you,” he told the Birmingham Mail. “I hope now people will remember me. I want to show that I can be part of the team.

“But I don’t know if it’s me [who can directly replace Benteke’s goals]. It’s too early to speak about this.”

 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 is currently battling for minutes with Gabby Agbonlahor, new boy Jordan Ayew and Callum Robinson up top, but the competition for starting places could be about to become much more fierce.

Both Tottenham Hotspur’s Emmanuel Adebayor and Blackburn Rovers target man Rudy Gestede are reported to be heading to Villa Park in the near future [h/t Sky Sports], but their fellow forward is taking a diplomatic approach to their potential arrivals.

“There are many good players in this team and I hope everybody can score the goals,” Kozak added. “Christian has gone so we have to think about us, and I think we are strong in the forward line.”

Signed from Lazio in September 2013 for €6.5 million [£4.7 million], Kozak netted four times in his first 15 games for Villa before being sidelined, showing clear signs of Premier League potential in that time.

Having been out of competitive action for so long, it remains to be seen whether Sherwood will be reluctant to hand the Czech ace a central role given the other possible options at his disposal but, at the same time, his current form is proving hard to ignore.

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