A Frosty Reception Awaits?
KRBS Priestfield Stadium
4th January 2009
Steven Ger…nah I`m not going to go down that poor joke route again. Aston Villa get into the FA Cup without needing to overcome Manchester United for a change. We`ve seen Henrik Larsson and Gabor Kiraly feature, we`ve seen Villa getting utterly hammered by Sir Alex`s merry men for so many a year.
This time, well, we are apparently going full strength against a League Two side, a side that no doubt the cameras are watching in order to provide an upset, a romantic cup upset, a banana skin, a risky game, and as many other of the clichés as you see fit to squeeze into 15 minutes worth of ITV pre-amble.
It`s Villa, it`s League Two Gillingham, no Routledge, bye Routledge, Routledge Routledge, Pre-Salifou.
Another quiz Q: Who said this?
"I think in England you eat too much sugar and meat and not enough vegetables."
Seeing as it is no doubt the Gills` Cup Final (you`ve come a little early there I think it`s only round 3!) I thought I would quote them first!
It had to be really, as it`s ultimately far more positive than anything that has come from the mouth of the Villa boss. Somewhat akin to fellow League Two boss Keith Alexander, who was far from optimistic of the Silkmen`s chances against Premier League side Everton.
Mark Stimson expects a thrashing from Aston Villa, if his BBC Radio Kent comments are to be believed. Like Alexander, the former Newcastle, Portsmouth and Southend defender fully acknowledges the fact that a cricket score could be run up as Martin O`Neill`s bunch of merry men rolls into the count of Kent:
"If they play to their potential, we could be looking at seven or 8-0 quite easily.
"You're talking about top international players, let alone Premiership players.
"But will they all play? Will they all click at the same time? Hopefully they don't and we do. If that's the case we could surprise a few people."
As the Beeb report, Gillingham are set for a £250,000 windfall (only a tad short of the Routledge QPR fee!) and that no matter what happens, nobody can take away the cash prize!:
"Whatever happens it's helped the club massively financially. You just wouldn't believe what it's done for this football club,"
On the flip-flop side, the man whose transfer-window hotline phone has been colder than it currently is outside my window, (as proven by me sticking my head out of my window, it`s damn cold!) Villa boss Martin O`Neill is somewhat more wary than to expect an 8-0 tubthumping of the Gills, playing it as safe as you`d expect a Premier League manager to do so against a lower league opposition. Marty told avfc.co.uk:
"The FA Cup has a fantastic tradition and history - it's just a great competition.
"It has been a bit maligned in recent years because the emphasis seems to have shifted from the FA Cup to the Champions League. I understand that.
On the opposition, O`Neill added:
"At Gillingham, we want to compete and win the game. We will treat the competition with all the dignity it deserves."
"They played exceptionally well. With a full house in the cup-tie, they will be difficult opponents and we will go as strong as we can.
"Gillingham are a lovely footballing side and it will be tough. But we want to stay in the competition."
From the player side of things, Curtis Davies who likened himself to a pub player during an awful defeat to League One doomed Leicester, has called for something more obvious than Mr obvious the obvious man from 114 obvious street obviouston Obvious Land, to avoid another cup upset.
Following Villa`s dismal Carling Cup exit at the hands of muchos moneymen QPR, Davies told avfc.co.uk:
"Losing in the Carling Cup was a real slip-up and we don't want that to happen again.
"That was a real frustration.
"We want to be one of the Barclays Premier League clubs that get through - we don't want to be a team on the end of a giant-killing. We need to be on top of our game at the weekend.
"For Gillingham, it will be a massive occasion - that's what the FA Cup is all about.
"But it's a big game for us too because the competition still has its magic now. Players still want to lift that trophy at Wembley. We want to go as far as possible in the competition."
Thank you non-Captain Obvious.
Gillingham Team News:
Gillingham are suffering somewhat of a defensive crisis with a number of the rear guard missing. Defenders Barry Fuller and Garry Richards are out with suspensions and right winger Southall is also absent from the money spinner.
Who knows who will play in their place, but the Gills squad as listed by their official site is: Simon Royce, Alan Julian, John Nutter, Simon King, Stuart Lewis, Adam Miller, Mark Bentley, Curtis Weston, Simeon Jackson, Gary Mulligan, Andrew Pugh, Albert Jarrett, Andrew Barcham, Dennis Oli, Luke Rooney, Connor Essam, Jack Payne.
Player to watch: Andy Barcham
If he plays, the former Spurs academy graduate should be the thorn in the side of the Premier League squad. I don`t know much about him but, he hasn`t done that well for the League Two side so expect him to make a name in the FA Cup.
Aston Villa Team News:
Villa are, according to Martin O`Neill, set to name a strong side, so expect a number of changes.
John Carew, Martin Laursen, Wilf Bouma and Carlos Cuellar are all still absent. I think it wouldn`t be a shock to see Brad #2 (Guzan for the uneducated) come in between the pipes, alongside the likes of Marlon Harewood, and yet another desperate attempt to prove that Moustapha Salifou (pictured at the top) is anything more than what should be lobbed out with the late-surviving Christmas Trees.
The squad is anyone`s guess, but here`s my guessed lineup!: Guzan Shorey Davies Knight Young Barry Reo-Coker Gardner, Milner, Agbonlahor, Harewood.
Player to watch: Whoever plays striker!
It`s either Gabby to score 6, or last chance saloon for the Hare.
Utterly Useless Tripe!
Folks don`t forget this game is on ITV tomorrow, 1330 kick-off!
I heard a random TV reference to this yesterday evening, and quite frankly couldn`t resist. As best a way to describe Marlon Harewood`s inclusion tomorrow, here is Cameo.
GIllingham (Kent), should not be confused with Gilingham (Dorset), which is a bit the same, but quite frankly, isn`t. In my research, the only thinkg about the Dorset town I could find is it has a railway. Meanwhile the other Gilingham has:
Many churches, a railway station of it`s own, Rik Waller was born there, as was Gary Rhodes and David Frost.
In your face Dorset Gills!
According to my online facts, Aston Villa and Gillingham have faced each other just twice, in the old 3rd Division way back in the 70`s with Villa coming out on top overall.
Gillingham are the only Football League club in Kent.
The Gills are just the 74 places below Aston Villa, mostly thanks to Marlon Harewood.
I am having Curry for my dinner.
The ref for this match, no doubt wired to the national grid, Sky Sports, and possibly those who lie well above us, is Mr Keith Stroud who hails from Hampshire. Keith has managed 60 yellow and 4 red cards in his 18 games.
His last outing with Villa was in October, booking Chris Samba as the Villans overcame Blackburn 3-2 thanks to Luke Young, Bazza and Gabby.
I haven't been able to sim this on Fifa, as my Xbox is un-connected and it seems an awful long way to re-connect it. I'm going with the Gills boss, 8-0 Villa.
Villa go into what is their derby game now that Birmingham City are long since departed, the game turns up, I believe once more on TV, on Saturday 10th January.
Thanks for reading folks!