By Claire Boden
Villa played out a goalless draw against Birmingham City on Tuesday lunchtime in a specially arranged behind-closed-doors friendly.
An experienced claret and blues side containing Stephen Ireland, Curtis Davies and Steve Sidwell played at Blues' Wast Hills training ground.
Gerard Houllier and his new back room team were amongst the spectators on the sidelines who watched the profitable workout for a number of Villa stars.
Brad Guzan was called into action with 15 minutes on the clock. The USA shot stopper produced a great save to deny Nikola Zigic heading Blues into the lead.
Villa's best chance of the first half fell to Jonathan Hogg shortly before the interval. The midfielder picked up Barry Bannan's pass and unleashed a shot, but it could only find the side netting.
The woodwork denied the claret and blues from taking the lead on 65 minutes. Bannan's well worked corner with Ireland found Nathan Delfouneso lurking inside the penalty area. The striker's shot agonisingly hit the crossbar much to the relief of Blues goalkeeper Maik Taylor.
Thereafter, Villa stepped up the pressure on Blues in search of a winning goal and that almost arrived through Sidwell, but the midfielder put his shot past the post.
Late on Guzan produced a stunning save to deny one of Blues' substitutes a last-gasp goal.
Villa: Brad Guzan, Habib Beye, Curtis Davies, Ciaran Clark, Ellis Deeney, Jonathan Hogg, Steve Sidwell, Stephen Ireland, Daniel Johnson, Barry Bannan, Nathan Delfouneso