U18 Preview: Aston Villa vs Saints

By SFC Media Fri 23 Nov Aston Villa v Saints
Photo by James Bridle

It's a trip to Aston Villa this weekend in the Under-18 Premier League for Saints' youngsters as they look to return to winning ways...

THE MATCH

Aston Villa U18 vs Southampton U18
U18 Premier League
Bodymoor Heath Training Ground
Saturday 24th November, 11am GMT

Saints head into this one looking to respond after defeat to Stoke City in the Premier League Cup and will be buoyed by the fact they had won four of their previous five prior to that.

The hosts go into the contest having recorded a 2-1 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in the same competition. They sit two points ahead of Paul Hardyman’s men in the table but suffered a 3-0 reverse against the Seagulls last time out in the league.

During the international break, Saints recorded a friendly victory over Ipswich Town and Hardyman will give an opportunity to some of the Under-17s squad this weekend.

FLASHBACK: Aston Villa 0-1 Southampton (Brennan 16')

When the sides last met at Bodymoor Heath in February, Sean Brennan's goal proved the difference, lobbing the goalkeeper in the first-half.

Watch back the best of the action from that contest...

COACH'S THOUGHTS

Paul Hardyman is hoping his side have learnt from their 3-2 defeat to Stoke in the U18 Premier League Cup ahead of the trip to Aston Villa. Goals from Will Ferry and Benni Smales-Braithwaite saw them head into the break in control, but the next goal was crucial and it fell to Stoke, with Ethon O’Driscoll-Varian turning the tide.

“It’ll be a tough test. They’ve had mixed results a little bit like us, but we’ve watched some of their matches and they’ve played well.

“But we’re going up there with the youngest team we’ve had and we’re looking forward to it.

“Against Stoke we were 2-0 up at half-time and we’d warned the lads that the next goal would be an important one and unfortunately for us they got it and we didn’t perform to the level we expect in the second-half which was disappointing.

“We’ve spoken to the players that and hopefully we’ve learned those lessons. It’s now about making sure we get back to winning ways.

“We’ll be asking the players to step up tomorrow against Villa and hopefully we can deliver a result.

“We’ve been working on keep possession a lot better than we have been doing, which has been one of our main focus areas and out of possession making sure we keep our concentration so we’re not switching off.

“We had a good win against Ipswich in a friendly and the Under-17s delivered a good performance as well so some of those are getting their chance on Saturday. It’s a positive environment at the moment.”

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