Promising midfielder Jonathan Hogg is hoping for an opportunity to show new boss Alex McLeish what he has got to offer, when Aston Villa take on Hereford United in tonight's Carling Cup second round clash at Villa Park.

The tenacious 22-year-old completed his first run-out for Villa reserves in the side's goalless draw with Blackburn Rovers, and has declared himself fit and ready for action should he be called upon tonight.

"I needed the minutes but I'm fresh for the game against Hereford too," said Hogg. "I will work my socks off and hopefully the gaffer will give me a chance [on Tuesday]."

After making his first-team breakthrough last season in a 2-2 draw with Manchester United, Hogg made a handful of further top-flight appearances before dropping a division when he went on loan to Portsmouth to continue his development.


 

But now back in claret and blue, Hogg is looking to make his mark in the Villa first-team, and is desperate to impress McLeish who has already suggested tonight's encounter will be an opportunity for some of the club's fringe players to stake their claim.

"There's a chance for us to play some players who are bursting to get in the team," he said. "This is their opportunity.

"We will make some changes without a shadow of a doubt and we will utilise the squad because some players need to play football.

"But at the same time they are at a good level of fitness and a good level of sharpness, so we will look forward to seeing these guys in action."

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