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Hong Kong Soccer 7s: Young guns backed to adapt

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Hong Kong Soccer 7s: Young guns backed to adapt

Ben Petty has backed his inexperienced Villa side to pose a threat at this weekend's HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens. 

The young guns begin their campaign on Saturday with Group A fixtures against Newcastle, Kitchee and hosts Hong Kong Football Club. 

Villa's ten-man squad is predominantly made up of U18s, most of whom are newcomers to the Far East tournament. 

Khalid Abdo and Harry McKirdy are involved for the third year running but Oscar Borg is the only other player with past Soccer Sevens experience, having represented former club West Ham last season. 

But Petty, who will take charge alongside club legend Gordon Cowans, believes his charges will get to grips with the format quickly. 

"It is a really young, exciting squad," said the Villa coach. 

"We feel we've picked a team with lots of pace. There's a little bit of inexperience in there with first years like Mitchell Clark and Jordan Cox but we're confident the lads will pick it up quickly. 

"But it is going to be tough. Kitchee won it a couple of years ago, the other local team Hong Kong Football Club are becoming more difficult to beat and then we face Newcastle, so it is going to be a tough group to get out of." 

Petty will be able to draw on past experiences of the competition, having led Villa in 2014 as well as assisting Kevin MacDonald in 2011. 

He wants his side to stamp their authority on games as quickly as possible. 

"You've got to try and get in the lead as quickly as you can," he added. 

"When you are chasing the game it is very tough because the opposition can sit back behind the ball. 

"We have to try and get the first goal and try and control the game from there. 

"It will be tough because the weather is warm and humid and the players are going to have to adapt really quickly. 

"But we're looking forward to the weekend." 

VILLA SQUAD: Matija Sarkic (Gk), Mitchell Clark, Oscar Borg, Jordan Cox, Callum O'Hare, Harry McKirdy, Corey Blackett-Taylor, Keinan Davis, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Khalid Abdo. 

Saturday May 21 

Group A - Villa v Kitchee (3.57pm HK time/8.57am UK time) 
Group A - Villa v Hong Kong FC (5.56pm HK time/10.56am UK time) 
Group A - Newcastle v Villa (7.21pm HK time/12.21pm UK time)

By @AVFCOfficial 19th May 2016