Steve Evans believes Aston Villa are icons of the Premier League - but he still says Stevenage can beat them in the FA Cup third round.

The Boro boss has been almost giddy with excitement since the draw paired his League Two high-flyers with Unai Emery's top flight stars.

But when a man who has overseen cup shocks in the past says a victory for the minnows is possible, 

"It’s fantastic," he said. "They are one of the Premier League’s most iconic football clubs. 

"It’s tremendous. A game like this always invigorates the town, no matter what town you are in. 

"Going to Villa Park, you’re going to the home of former European Cup winners. 

"There are legends all around the ground when you go through the lounges and you see who the speakers are. 

"We know what we’re walking into, I certainly know, but our message to the players is to play with the enthusiasm we do in League Two. 

"If we get the ball in the right areas, we can cause them a problem or two. 

"We have to understand that Aston Villa will have large periods with the ball and it is what we do without it. 

"When we do have it, we have to be accurate and keep it. 

"It’s a free shot for us. Everyone expects it to be many goals to zero in Villa’s favour but it’s the FA Cup and we know there will be shocks. 

"We have to hope and pray to the man above that we get the breaks and are one of them."

Evans has been to Villa Park as a manager many times and even as a fan where he saw Scotland defeat Switzerland 1-0 at Euro 96.

And, like he did that day, he wants his players to enjoy the occasion.

He said: "They will embrace it and they will love it. We have some big characters but you never really know until you put them in a theatre like Villa Park who will embrace it. 

"Some of them will, some won’t, but it is a game to embrace and it is a game to look back on with your kids and your grandkids and when it is on the TV in the future, you can say you played there."

Which combination of players Boro face is anyone's guess at this stage but Evans knows that they have to be treated with respect, regardless of the final team selection.

He said: "We had a good look at them against Tottenham and a good look at them against Wolves but I don’t think even a mixture of both will be the team that we face. 

"The manager there will select wisely, as he does, his track record in cup competitions is unbelievable when you search it. 

"We know they will be strong, whatever team they pick. 

"Even if they pick the bench from the Wolves game in midweek, it’ll be a team full of really good Premier League players. 

"We’ll be really humble and respectful but we’ll go there and hope they don’t have the best of days."