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Head Coach Michael Flynn excited for Aston Villa encounter

8 July 2022

Walsall Head Coach Michael Flynn is excited by the prospect of returning to the Poundland Bescot Stadium and playing in front of supporters.

The Saddlers got some early pre-season action under their belts in behind closed doors matches against Barnsley and Birmingham City over the past week.

On Saturday, Flynn’s men host Premier League side Aston Villa with a bumper crowd expected for the 1pm kick-off.

Flynn is expecting a different challenge against Villa but he was pleased with what he saw in the two behind closed doors games.

"They were a lot more pleasing than I thought they were going to be,” he admitted.

"We lost both games 1-0, but we could have won both.

"With Aston Villa coming up on Saturday, I wanted to play bigger and so-called better teams first, so we could get our fitness in without the ball.

"That didn't quite happen over the two games as we gave as good as we got.

"It'll probably be a little different on Saturday, depending on what team Aston Villa bring, but it's something I'm really looking forward to.

"Not just because it's Villa, but we'll have the crowd back and, hopefully, I'll get 10 minutes with Steven Gerrard and Gary McAllister because they're two legends in my eyes.

"It's fantastic, and Villa deserve a lot of credit for supporting a local club around them.

"It's not easy in League Two, so it'll be a nice little boost for the coffers.

"It's good. If I was a manager in the Premier League, I'd always want to go to a local club and try to get them some extra revenue.

"Villa deserve a big thank you. They'll get it from myself, but I think they deserve it from the whole Walsall community."

Flynn has been impressed with what he has seen so far from his newly assembled squad during pre-season but has also been left a little frustrated with injuries to two of his new acquisitions – Liam Gordon and Oisin McEntee.

"The last two weeks, we've had some unfortunate news with Liam on Oisin, to add to Conor and Joss,” Flynn confirmed.

"That's not ideal as that's a good portion of the budget that I can't use.

"So, we have got to be careful, but the players we've brought in, they've all worked really hard.

"I've seen some good attributes. They're taking on board what we're asking of them.

"The old lads have welcomed them, they're all getting on well and have gelled really quickly.

"So far, so good, apart from the injuries to the lads who are going to be big misses."

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