Man Utd U21 v Villa U21: Cowans relishing Red Devils test
Gordon Cowans insists his Villa young guns will relish the task of taking on Manchester United in tonight's Barclays U21 Premier League clash.
Victory for the boys in claret and blue at Altrincham this evening would take them up to second in Group Two.
And coach Cowans reckons an exciting challenge lies in store for his team.
A young Villa side suffered a 3-1 defeat in the reserve league last season against a strong Red Devils outfit featuring the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Tom Cleverley.
United also had the upper hand in the national play-off final at Old Trafford in May with a penalty shootout triumph after the two sides played out a goalless draw.
"These are the sort of games you look forward to," said Cowans.
"You want to go and play against the big sides like Manchester United and I'm sure the lads will lift themselves for that.
"You have to get up for it and go there and see what we can do."
Cowans wants his team to be more clinical in front of goal after squandering several decent opportunities in last week's 2-1 win over Sunderland.
Villa dominated in the early stages but had goalkeeper Craig Hill to thank for securing the three points following a second-half Black Cats onslaught.
"The first half an hour was fantastic and we probably should have been four or five up by then," added Cowans.
"But we didn't take our chances and we should really have taken them better. They got a goal back and we caved in.
"The second half was disappointing although they worked their socks off and people were throwing their bodies on the line to make blocks.
"You couldn't fault the work rate but Sunderland dominated in the second half and Craig Hill was outstanding for us."
Tonight's game kicks off at 7pm. You can follow all the action through AVTV's live audio commentary as well as our interactive text service.