Date: 9th November 2007 at 7:27pm
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Birmingham City striker Mikael Forssell could feature against Aston Villa on Sunday (Nov 11) after scoring two hat-tricks in a row for the reserves.

The 26-year-old former Chelsea man, who has struggled with injury since moving to Birmingham on a permanent basis in 2005, scored three goals against Villa as the reserves went down 4-3 in a behind-closed-doors match, and then grabbed another three as the reserves beat Fulham 5-1.

However, while those scoring exploits cannot be ignored, boss Steve Bruce rightly admitted there is a huge jump from reserve team football to a place in the starting XI in the Premier League – and especially a match against Villa at St Andrews.

Bruce told the club’s official site: “Mikael got a hat trick on Monday night for the reserves so he comes right into the equation. He has got over his stomach injury and his knee is okay – touch wood. We just hope, as we have for the last two-and-a-half years, that Mikael can have a six month run at it rather than being interrupted through injury. When he doesn’t train he loses that yard of pace.

“If he stays injury free and maintains his level of fitness then Mikael will always be a goalscorer and we’re crying out for one of those. But there’s one hell of a difference between a reserve team game and Aston Villa on Sunday. As I keep saying, we just hope Mikael can stay injury free.”

The boss claimed Forssell could be worth 10 goals this season if he stays fit – though whether he would be best employed against Villa from the start or from the bench is a question he will have to answer.

While beating Villa on Sunday would be great for all sorts of reasons, it will inevitably be a fiery encounter and perhaps risking Forssell in such circumstances wouldn’t be worthwhile, because a few goals in other matches later in the season could make more of a difference come the end of the campaign.

However, the fact that there is competition for places and the boss has options available has to be good news – and there would be no better way for Forssell to show fans he is back than by grabbing the winner on Sunday or, even better, netting another hat-trick…