DANNY Jackman’s journey from Aston Villa starlet to Worcester City skipper will no doubt strike a chord with football romantics.

But, as the two sides prepare to go head-to-head tomorrow (3pm), the 33-year-old revealed his career could have taken a different direction if he had not made a “rash” decision when he was still wearing claret and blue.

Back in 2002, Worcester-born Jackman was on the fringes of the Villa first team with dreams of making his Premier League debut.

After years of hard work at the Birmingham club, the 5ft 4in midfielder was finally mixing it with the likes of Paul Merson, Dion Dublin and Steve Staunton.

But, with opportunities limited, Jackman chose to venture out on loan to Cambridge United and Stockport County before departing Villa in the late 2003 just before he turned 21.

Although Jackman went on to have a strong career in the Football League, playing more than 300 games, he still questions why he left the club he joined as a 12-year-old.

“I didn’t make an appearance (for Aston Villa) but I was training with the first team a lot and I got on the bench a few times,” he said.

“I went out on loan and then I decided upon myself to go out and play full-time football in the Football League.

“It was a decision which perhaps I look back on and think maybe it was a bit rash to leave, but it is all ifs, buts and maybes.”

Jackman made more than 50 appearances for Stockport before making the move to Gillingham where he had two successful spells.

He also spent two years at Northampton Town and played for Kidderminster Harriers for a season before following in the footsteps of his grandfather Bill Jackman by signing for his hometown club of Worcester in 2014.

But the former Worcester Colts player will always reflect on his time at Villa fondly and he hopes they will bounce back after being relegated from the top flight last season.

“I was there for a long time and it is a fantastic club,” he said.

“So I am sad to see it in the state that it is in and where it is playing at the minute.

“But it will bounce back. It has got a great fan base.

“Coaches like Kevin MacDonald, Gordon Cowans and Tony McAndrew set me on my way and they gave me all the discipline and the tools I needed to stay in the game.

“I owe them a lot.”

Jackman, who runs coaching classes at Villa, says he is now relishing the chance to go up against his former club at Stourport Swifts' Walshes Meadow.

“We don’t know what team they are going to put out but it is still Aston Villa, so whoever they bring will be full of quality,” he said.

“They are a good outfit and do things the right way with the academy and bringing players through, so it will be a really tough game.

“But everyone is really excited and looking forward to it.”