Youth side face Southampton test

Last updated : 17 January 2006 By Norris Winter

"This is a tough, tough game," he told the club's official website. "I've watched them two or three times this season and they’re a quality side. I look at Southampton as the benchmark over the last couple of seasons. They’ve not won anything yet, but they’re the best side we've come up against." A last-32 fixture against either Bolton or Crewe awaits the winner, but McAndrew admits the sizeable hurdle of Southampton will not be an easy one to negotiate. "We played them earlier his season and lost 4-0," he continued. They have a lot of firepower but hopefully we can learn from that experience."

Villa have some cause for optimism as they go into the game lying top of their Academy League after 12 games without defeat. "We're not just travelling down there to make up the numbers," McAndrew said. "If we play as we can then we’ve got a chance. We’ll have to be at our best though."