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TOWN v VILLA: Enemies for 90 minutes
THEY may have worked closely together to mastermind Swindon Robins’ Elite League triumph, but Alun Rossiter and Gary Patchett will be at loggerheads this evening as Swindon Town host Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup.
Proud Swindonian Rossiter and long-time Villa fan Patchett will put on a show of unity when they are presented to the crowd at half-time following the Robins’ victory over Poole last Monday night, but during the 90 minutes it will be a completely different story.
The Premier League side limped to a 1-1 draw at home to Norwich on Saturday while Town won 4-0 at Stevenage, and, with bragging rights on the line, team manager Rossiter believes his home town club will give him an edge over his old friend.
“The way Villa are playing I can only see one winner to be honest, and if Swindon do win he won’t ever live it down,” he said.
“We are the better team, and it would be fantastic if we could win.
“If we do I will give him a little poke every now and again when he gives me a hard time and when we don’t agree on things, and when that happens it will be the perfect time to remind him of the result.
“The football club is doing fantastic recently and they are on a high after promotion last year, and the town is buzzing at the moment because of all the success.
“There are a lot of people who go to both football and speedway, so there is a lot of interest at the moment and it is exciting times.
“The biggest profile we have had was when Town were in the Premiership, but they have had some tough years since and a few financial problems, so it is brilliant to have them back doing well again.”
Co-promoter Patchett has been a season ticket holder at Villa Park for much of his life since moving to the Birmingham area in the 70s, but he is not going into the game with much confidence.
“It is a massive banana skin for Villa and it is easy for clubs in the lower divisions to motivate themselves when the opportunity is there to grab the headlines with a giant killing, and Swindon have been pretty good at doing that recently,” he said.
“They have not been in the best of form just recently, but they did have a brilliant result at Stevenage while Villa limped to a draw at home to Norwich.
“Villa won’t be looking forward to going down there that is for sure, and I suppose I maybe make Swindon favourites.
“I will never live it down with Rosco if Swindon do win, but to have that little bit of rivalry between me and him doesn’t hurt.”
Despite his Villa roots, Patchett has a soft spot with Town due to his involvement with the Robins, and will not be too devastated if Paolo Di Canio’s team can pull off another cup shock.
“I can cope with Swindon winning because even though Villa will always be my club, Swindon is the next result I always look for because I obviously have loyalties to the town,” he said.
“I am slightly torn between the two, but on occasions like this one you have to nail your colours to the mast one way or another.
“There will be plenty of banter that is for sure, especially when Swindon find the net for the first time, but I hope it will be a good game.
“I can cope with sitting in with the home fans, and I think I am one of very few people who could get away from being in there in Villa colours, not that I will be wearing any.”