The two clubs will face off in the Carabao Cup second round on Tuesday night.
He told CheshireLive: "I think he's done a terrific job. The likes of Dean Smith and Sean Dyche, even Nathan Jones to a certain extent – starting at Brighton in their academy, he goes to Luton and does well, I know he's having a tough time down the road, but those kind of managers are inspirational.
"I look at them personally and I think if they can do it, there's nothing to stop myself and Kenny [Lunt, assistant manager] taking this club further and higher and all having good careers.
"I've met him a couple of times and he's a thoroughly nice fella. I'm glad to see him doing well and having a shot at the Premier League – I just hope he doesn't do well tomorrow.
"It's going to be a good night and a good test. We've had that experience of a Premier League team already this season, albeit in a pre-season friendly (against Burnley) , but it's going to be a good night for the football club and it's going to be a good test for us.
"There should be a good crowd, I don't know what's expected, but there should be and we're hopeful of a good result.
"They're a good well organised team, We obviously saw them on Friday night and they've got a good British manager in Dean Smith who knows the value of the competition, so we're expecting a tough night but then we expected a tough night at Middlesbrough – we all know how that materialised.
"We're going into it knowing we can give a good account of ourselves and we'll make it as hard as we possibly can for Villa."