Aston Villa are coming up against the team with the strongest squad in the Premier League when they visit Manchester City on Saturday, according to assistant boss Peter Grant.
Alex McLeish’s No.2 believes City are firing on all cylinders at present and thinks that Roberto Mancini’s side will provide the toughest test so far this season.
Villa are currently unbeaten in the league though and determined to keep that run intact despite City’s faultless home form in the league at the Etihad Stadium.
Grant admits that he’s always liked being a ‘party-pooper’ and insists Villa will go out to try and win the game and not roll over to their multi-million pound opponents.
“If you watch what Manchester City do it can frighten you because they have some top-quality players in their squad,” he said.
“I would say without a shadow of a doubt their squad is the strongest.
“But we have got quality players as well and we have got to go there and try and win the game.
“In the Premier League people talk about home and away but we go into every game trying to win it and that won’t change here.
“We’re not going to go there on the back foot, but if we are on the back foot it will be because Manchester City have pushed us back because of the quality.
“The concentration levels against the best teams has to be 100 per cent and we are looking forward to it.
“I mean what more could you ask for?
“Going to their stadium with all their big players and everyone raving about them. I was always someone who liked being the party-pooper.”
Villa have been far from impressive on the road this year, drawing all three of their away league games to date.
Manchester City, however have won all three of their home encounters, scoring nine goals along the way, and have yet to concede.
Alex McLeish has been boosted by Gabby Agbonlahor’s availability, and James Collins has also been training all week so he should be fit for the match.
Another player pushing for a recall is Emile Heskey who has impressed McLeish in training with the variety of positions he can play in.
“We now know what Emile can do – he can play in any position,” said McLeish.
“I could even play him at the back without any fears. Emile is a brilliant all-round player, he understands the game, and we need him in the squad.
“It’s not just about 11 players. Emile’s motivation is there to impress, but it’s what competition is all about.
“The one thing when I was a footballer that I was frightened about the most, and no it wasn’t Sir Alex’s wrath, was losing my place,
“That’s what drove me, and that’s what motivated me – losing my place.
“Sometimes it happened out of an injury or sometimes it was a suspension, and you hoped that the team wouldn’t lose but you also hoped the guy that was in your position didn’t have a great game, so you could get back into the team.
“Emile is ready, and Gabby seems to be fine – we just have to watch the load we give him in training. I think the smart money is on him being available.”