Fulham’s reserves play their first home game of the new season tonight when they welcome reigning national champions Aston Villa to Motspur Park.

Billy McKinlay’s side picked up their first point of the campaign a fortnight ago with a creditable draw at Birmingham and will look to build on that against a strong Villa outfit, who have been one of the teams to beat in reserve football in recent years. They have won the Premier League Reserve South title in both of the last two seasons and beat Sunderland in the play-off to take the national crown last year.

Villa will likely prove a tough test for Fulham’s mix of youth and experience – and it will be interesting to see the side that McKinlay selects tonight. The game could be an ideal opportunity for new signing Kagisho Dikgacoi to continue on the path to full match sharpness and American striker Eddie Johnson, who grabbed the precious equaliser at Birmingham, should start up front.

The Villa side could include centre back Ciaran Clark, who was so impressive on his Premier League debut against Fulham early this season, and promising forward Nathan Delfouneso, who looked a real prospect in his handful of appearances for the first team last year. Villa have made a flawless start to the defence of the title thrashing Chelsea 4-0 and recording home wins over West Ham and Portsmouth.