Ply­mouth’s young­sters travel to Villa Park in the cup

Western Morning News - - Sport -

PLY­MOUTH Ar­gyle un­der-23s take on Premier League Cup hold­ers As­ton Villa tonight (7pm).

And there is ex­tra ex­cite­ment for the Pil­grims be­cause the third of their six Group F games is tak­ing place at Villa Park.

One of the most fa­mous foot­ball sta­dia in the coun­try, Villa Park has a ca­pac­ity of more than 42,000 seats.

Ar­gyle as­sis­tant man­ager Paul Wot­ton said: “It will be a bril­liant ex­pe­ri­ence for the lads, and As­ton Villa are de­cent as well, as you would ex­pect them to be.

“Villa Park is such an iconic sta­dium in English foot­ball. It’s a fan­tas­tic chance for them to play at a great ground.”

Villa be­gan their de­fence of the Premier League Cup with an 8-0 thrash­ing of Bris­tol City at the start of Oc­to­ber.

Cal­lum O’Hare, 20, scored a hat-trick, while 19-year-old Har­vey Knibbs net­ted twice.

What­ever the strength of the side that Villa put out against Ar­gyle it is sure to pos­sess plenty of talented prospects.

Wot­ton said: “You never know in de­vel­op­ment foot­ball what sort of side you are go­ing to play. It can be any­thing from 16s to 23s.

“But that’s ir­rel­e­vant. I’m sure our lads will go up there and give a good ac­count of them­selves.”

The likes of Michael Cooper, Ryan Law, Michael Peck, Alex Bat­tle and Alex Fletcher are set to be in­volved for the Pil­grims against Villa.

Wot­ton said: “With no dis­re­spect to the (South West) Penin­sula League, it’s a mil­lion miles away from that.

“You are play­ing against good qual­ity op­po­si­tion at a fan­tas­tic foot­ball sta­dium. It will be a great night for them.”

Mean­while, Yann Songo’o is ex­pected to be fit for Ply­mouth Ar­gyle’s FA Cup sec­ond round clash against Ox­ford United at Home Park on Sat­ur­day.

The 27-year-old was a doubt before the 2-0 de­feat away to Shrews­bury Town in League One on Tues­day be­cause of a groin in­jury.

Songo’o ended up play­ing at the New Meadow, but ap­peared to ag­gra­vate the prob­lem in the sec­ond half. How­ever, as­sis­tant man­ager Paul Wot­ton was hopeful Songo’o would be avail­able for se­lec­tion.

“I think Yann will be okay for Sat­ur­day,” Wot­ton told Ply­mouth Live.

The ver­sa­tile Songo’o has been play­ing at cen­tre-back along­side Niall Cana­van over re­cent Ar­gyle matches.

Of­ten used as a mid­fielder in the past, Songo’o has been pressed into ser­vice in de­fence be­cause Ryan Ed­wards has had a chest in­fec­tion and Scott Woot­ton has a thigh in­jury.

Songo’o has made a to­tal of 20 starts and two sub­sti­tute ap­pear­ances this sea­son.

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