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Wednesday 12 December 2018

Bruce knows Villa face battle to keep Grealish

Jack Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce admits he may lose Jack Grealish
Jack Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce admits he may lose Jack Grealish

Steve Bruce knows Aston Villa have a battle on their hands to keep playmaker Jack Grealish at the club beyond Thursday's transfer deadline.

Grealish, an integral part of Villa's run to the Championship play-off final last season, has been linked with a move to Tottenham this summer.

Bruce opted to start Grealish against Hull at the KCOM Stadium in their season opener and the 22-year-old provided an assist for Tommy Elphick's goal in the 3-1 victory.

Grealish received a standing ovation when substituted seven minutes from time and the Villa fans again made their feelings known at full-time, chanting, 'We want you to stay'.

Bruce is also keen for Grealish to remain at Villa but would understand if he is tempted by a top-four Premier League club.

"I am fed up reading about it and I cannot wait until after Thursday," Bruce said. "Nobody wants him to leave, but there is a human element to it too.

"The owners have made it pretty clear that they don't want to sell him and that still stands. Now if they get to a magical figure, then we will see. What that magical figure is I do not know. He is an Aston Villa fan, his family are Aston Villa through and through, they are probably in the away end tonight singing with the fans. It is an emotional thing for him, of course.

"But he is young and ambitious and wants to play in the Champions League and we understand that.

Decision

"We are all trying our best to hang on to him but at the moment there is no decision to be made as they are not at the figure where the owners are even blinking."

Villa got off to a poor start as Evandro fired Hull in front in the seventh minute.

But Bruce's side grew into the game and after the unmarked Elphick headed in Grealish's corner, former Tiger Ahmed Elmohamady and Alan Hutton sealed the win. Bruce was relieved to return to football matters after financial issues dominated Villa's summer following the defeat to Fulham at Wembley in May.

"It has been a difficult few weeks to say the least, but the new owners have taken over the club in a week," said Bruce, who is still looking to strengthen his side.

"You cannot buy a house in a week. That shows how real they are. It was a poor start, an awful goal to concede. But second half we were a bit brighter. It is nice to get off to a good start but there is still a lot of work to be done. That was pretty obvious."

Hull boss Nigel Adkins admits his side need to improve defensively. The three goals were really poor," he said. "We did start the game very well, on the front foot as we wanted.

"It was a great goal from Evandro and thoroughly what we deserved. Unfortunately you can't really prepare yourself for the couple of poor goals that we've given away in close succession to put Villa in a good position to go and win the game.

"The atmosphere in the stadium was good but obviously we're all disappointed now with the result that has gone and happened."

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