Jaïdi previews Villa tie

By SFC Media time Sun 14 Jan Saints v Aston Villa
Photo by James Bridle | Radhi Jaïdi

Radhi Jaïdi says his Under-23s side are on a mission to collect points, with the ultimate aim of improving their Premier League 2 position.

A return to action for talented duo Jake Hesketh and Josh Sims has aided squad selection, but Jaïdi’s youngsters will have to overcome a lack of competitive match minutes, after a brief festive break and the late postponement of last week’s Blackburn clash.

Staplewood Campus will now host Aston Villa tonight, with three valuable Premier League 2 points on offer, as lead coach Jaïdi reiterated his assurance in Southampton’s young charges, who will be looking to improve on their current position of ninth in the standings.

“I'm always confident with the players we have," he said.

“We have a bigger squad now, with the return of Josh Sims and Jake Hesketh. Both have been training with the first-team, but we try to give them some game time to get them back to the right level after injury - they always have a positive impact on the 23s setup. That brings confidence.

“The ideal would be to have played last Monday, but you don't always get the perfect scenario before a game. The boys are always working hard, though.”

A disappointing away trip in the reverse of this fixture, with Villa winning 4-0 in September, has also prompted Jaïdi to ask for a big response.

“We expect a reaction, and for the boys to stand up to the challenge," he said. "We always play against teams who are motivated when they travel here, so we need to be on top of our game and collecting points to put in our pockets.”

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