Town welcome Championship side Aston Villa to the Montgomery Waters Meadow
After what seems like the blink of an eye, we're back in action at the newly named Montgomery Waters Meadow. It's always nice to have a big team visit and they don't come much bigger than Aston Villa. The Birmingham club has been a top-flight team for most of its recent history but we find them at a comparatively low point in the Championship. It's their second year in the second tier and manager Steve Bruce will be targeting a return to the Premier League as a matter of urgency. They've already played a couple of friendly games this pre-season, a 4-0 win for Villa against our non league neighbours Telford United and a 3-0 win against Kidderminster. The goals have been spread around the squad with Henri Lansbury grabbing a brace game whilst Gabriel Agbonlahor, Andre Green, Harry McKirdy, James Chester and Conor Hourihane have all scored once.
Steve Bruce has been with Villa since October when Villa approached the former Manchester United Defender. Bruce had a pretty immediate response from his players as the team started to collect points after one win in thirteen games before his arrival. Villa had a dodgy spell over Christmas but their form improved enough to see them finish 13th in the Championship.
Players to Watch
The obvious big name to talk about is John Terry, a player who played against us at the Gay Meadow and the Montgomery Waters Meadow. We know all about his strengths on the pitch so it shouldn't be much of a surprise to see a good performance from the Ex-England captain.
Agbonlahor has been with Villa since he signed as an academy player. He made his first-team debut in 2006 and since then, he's made over 300 Premier League appearances for the Villains. With 73 goals, he is Aston Villa's all-time leading Premier League goal scorer, having scored in 11 consecutive league seasons. Agbonlahor made his debut for England in 2008 and has earned three caps since then.
The Ghana attacking midfielder has been at Villa Park since the start of last season after moving from Middlesbrough. He's a player I remember from his time with Barnet and one that has a certain silky style to his game. He's scored goals at every team he's been with and after 38 games for the Birmingham club he has three goals.
It's the time of year that I roll out the “friendly results mean nothing” cliché. It's become a cliché because it's true, they really don't. Performances matter though and I'm hoping our players rise to the occasion after what sounded like a difficult friendly against Brackley. But I can pluck a couple of numbers out of the air and make a prediction easily enough.
Shrewsbury Town 1-1 Aston Villa.