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Keates looks ahead to Villa friendly

17 July 2018

The Saddlers host Sky Bet Championship side Aston Villa this evening at the Banks’s stadium in what will be the third game of this current pre-season campaign.

Previously, Dean Keates’ side have played Rushall Olympic and Stoke City, both resulting in defeats.

But the manager is looking to take positives from both fixtures heading into tonight’s game against the side that suffered a 1-0 defeat in the 2017/18 play-off final to Fulham.

Keates said: “It will be another tough game against Villa but these games are there to test us. We did OK against Stoke on Saturday when we grew into the game and when we had our little spells but the final ball wasn’t quite there in the final third.

“These sorts of games are going to be ones where we don’t have the ball a lot so it’s all about learning how to work without the ball and making sure we get our distances right. It is a good learning curve for us because we will learn how to break quickly.”

This will be the fifth time in the last six seasons that the two sides have met, with Villa winning two, 2013/14 and 2014/15, and the other two fixtures resulting in a 1-1 draw prior to the 2015/16 season and 0-0 draw before the 2017/18 season.

Following this evening’s fixture, the Saddlers host Dutch giants Ajax at the Banks’s Stadium on Thursday evening and then they head to Whaddon Road on July 28th where they will taken on Cheltenham Town for their final pre-season game.

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