Aston Villa to host fierce rivals West Brom in behind-closed-doors friendly with two one-hour matches on the cards – The SunJune 5, 2020
ASTON VILLA are set to host rivals West Brom in a behind-closed-doors friendly this Saturday as the restart of the Premier League and Championship looms closer.
According to the Daily Mail, the Baggies plan to take two teams to Villa Park and the possibility of two one-hour matches is on the cards, with a staff member set to referee the mini derby.
Villa are 19th in the table and two points from safety, but could be heading for the drop if they continue their disappointing run of form when the top-flight resumes on June 17.
They may even swap places with Slaven Bilic's men who sit second from top in the Championship.
The clash is reportedly being set up to boost competitive fitness levels while the Villans may look to test the fitness of their midfield maestro John McGinn.
McGinn had been enjoying a fine start to his maiden season in the top-flight before he was sidelined with a broken ankle in December, but is now back training.
Dean Smith's side are desperate to fend off any enquiries into McGinn if they can retain their Prem status, but relegation could see them forced to sell.
The friendly matches will also give Villa a prime opportunity to test their stadium's biosecurity process as they prepare to face Sheffield United on Wednesday June 17 in the first Premier League fixture since the season came to a halt in March.
Skipper Jack Grealish recently admitted he will find it hard in fan-free zones when the top-flight returns – as he thrives off the abuse from boo boys just like Cristiano Ronaldo used to.
He told the Express and Star: "'I love all that. I love when people are on my back and targeting me.
"I always remember when I was a kid – and I am not saying I am anywhere near his level – but Cristiano Ronaldo used to come to Villa and the fans used to absolutely cane him.
West Ham are planning a London derby double-header in the build up to the return of football.
They have contacted Arsenal and Crystal Palace in the hope of setting up friendly matches to put their players through their paces.
The Premier League has given clubs permission to arrange warm-up games now that training is stepping up.
But there are strict rules which include teams not travelling further than 90 minutes and players must get there alone without the normal team bus.
West Ham also want to play teams they have already met twice in the Premier League so will not face in competitive action once the campaign gets underway again.
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