On Tuesday, the Villans will take on The Robins at the County Ground in their third game of this pre-season campaign. Although the training camp in Portugal was productive, Sherwood’s players failed to win either of their training games, which were against Fulham and S.C. Braga respectively.
Meanwhile, Swindon Town have had a mixed pre-season, winning only one of their four friendlies. The Robins lost to two non-league sides in Swindon Submarine and Solihull Moors and were also on the end of a drubbing by Premier League outfit Everton.
I have spoken to Benjamin Wills, a lifelong Swindon Town fan who was nominated for ‘Young football blogger of the year’ in 2014 at the Football Blogging Awards.
1) The Robins have lost Ben Gladwin and Massimo Luongo this summer. How big are the voids left by those players?
At the moment, huge, purely because we are full of players on trial so we are very short on numbers. They are both obviously great players as well, Luongo especially, but we knew we were up for a fire sale of players so I am hoping the club have a plan in mind and that they’ll be replaced soon.
2) Mark Cooper has been at Swindon since 2013. Is it make or break time for him this season?
Not at all: the budget we have got is tiny and to take us to eighth and the play-off final in two seasons is nothing short of remarkable. Granted, having young talents from Premier League sides on loan helps.
3) What are your thoughts on Tim Sherwood?
I love the bloke personally and professionally. He and our chairman (Lee Power) are best friends and when Sherwood was Tottenham Hotspur manager he loaned us a load of their youth players (most notably Alex Pritchard and Massimo Luongo). Professionally, I really do rate him as a manager and do believe Villa have got a good manager there. Hopefully, we will be getting some of your young players on loan.
4) Who is the man Villa fans should watch out for on Tuesday evening?
Your guess is as good as mine at this stage! As I said, we are low on numbers at the moment and full of trialists. Our best one sounds like Fabien Robert, brother of ex-Newcastle winger Laurent.
5) Which Aston Villa player would you most like in your team and why?
Jack Grealish or Ashley Westwood. I really like both of them. Ihave always thought highly of Grealish and I am delighted he has forced his way into the first team already. From an outside perspective, it looks like Westwood is the man who really makes Villa tick while Delph (sorry for referring to ‘he who should not be mentioned’) gets the plaudits and, ultimately, the big move.
6) What are your thoughts on Fabian Delph’s move, looking on from the outside?
It is a complicated move. I am on his side but I totally understand why Villa fans would now turn on him. When he initially looked to leave then you could not blame him: City is a huge club and I for one do think he will play regularly but the U-turn then second U-turn has understandably left a bad taste in the mouth. I do still think he is doing what is best for his career though.
7) How can you see your season panning out?
I think we will have exactly the same season as last time around, challenging for promotion but will ultimately miss out.
8) What’s your match prediction?
Probably quite a convincing Villa win so I will go for 0-3.
9) Football Manager or Fifa?
Football Manager. Without a doubt, it is far more realistic in terms of how the sport works and the in-depth knowledge is something FIFA is lacking by quite a distance.
10) Vodka or Jäger?
If we are talking about having it straight then, God, it has to be Jägermeister.
My drink on a night out is vodka and Red Bull though so I drink vodka more regularly.
Thanks to Benjamin Wills for taking part in this week’s opposition view.
You can find his personal blog here.