WINCHESTER City boss Craig Davis is looking forward to seeing his players tested by more future Premier League stars when they take on a Saints XI tomorrow.

In January 2018, a Saints U23 team including Yan Valery won 3-0 away to a Winchester City the Southampton Senior Cup.

Now the Southern Leaguers are preparing to take on another young Saints team at Staplewood.

Davis said: “We fielded a development squad against Southampton 18 months ago and they were impressed with us, so we remained in contact and now this opportunity has come up.

“Funnily enough, Yann Valery played in that game. We went away thinking ‘what a player’.

“I said to so many people ‘this guy is going to be unbelievable’ and lo and behold he was in the first team six months later.

“It just goes to show. I’m sure we’ll be playing against similar talent.”

Valery made his Premier League debut within a year of that outing at the Denplan City Ground and is now a regular under Ralph Hasenhuttl.

“He played right-back against us but he might as well have been right wing, it was ridiculous,” continued Davis.

“While all the players were good players you could see he was a class above. Callum Slattery also played and was very good too.

“You can see the ones that have a real chance and you could tell Valery was going to be special.”

Valery is with most of the Saints first team in Austria but Slattery may well play against Winchester again, having done so in a 3-0 win against AFC Totton at Staplewood on Tuesday.

Jake Hesketh also played against Totton, who lose 3-0 to a Saints team that fielded an U23 side in the first half and an U18 team in the second.

“We’re really looking forward to it, a lot of our lads are Southampton fans and the facilities at Staplewood are second to none,” continued Davis.

“It’s a world apart from when I last went there to play for a Tyro League rep side 20-odd years ago!

“It’s really good of Southampton to give a couple of local sides this opportunity.

“The chance to test ourselves against young professionals will be fantastic. They’ll all be quality players.”

It will certainly be a very different occasion to Winchester's two friendlies so far this summer; a 1-1 draw at Brockenhurst and a 3-2 win at Ringwood Town, where they were 2-0 down.

“We’ve had two games against lower-league opposition and used 22 players in each game,” continued Davis, whose team begin the new Southern Premier season at Bristol Manor Farm on August 17.

“We'll start looking at our best team in the coming weeks but the game at Staplewood is one to enjoy. It will be like none of our league games, from the quality of the pitch and opposition to the way they’ll play.

“The tempo pro teams play at is very different. It’s not necessarily quicker, in many ways it’s slower, but in the final third it’s rapid.

“We’ll probably get more time on the ball because they offer you a bit more respect than you get in a league game, when you get rattled straight way.”

Winchester have a couple of players till on holiday but will field their three summer signings at Staplewood with centre-halves Keith Emmerson and Kieran Douglas both set to feature as well as teenage forward Ollie Balmer, from Poole Town.

Tomorrow’s game is behind closed doors but Winchester will not be without some support.

“Southampton have been very nice and said we can invite a few people as long as there’s a list on the gate, so we’re going to have 100-odd there,” added Davis.