Instead, he found himself up against Steve Walsh, the former Leicester City skipper and defensive inspiration in Martin O'Neill's glory days at Filbert Street.
The pair have had some real battles in the Premiership and neither held back when they locked horns again in the FA Premier Reserve League at Highfield Road.
Les, playing to up his match fitness levels, smiled: "When I walked out there I saw Steve and he said 'I wasn't expecting to see you out here tonight', so I said 'I wasn't expecting you, either'. It was nice because it gave me the run out I needed. I needed to work on my fitness and Steve's an experienced professional so I knew I would have my work cut out."
In the end it was honours even as Les had few chances and Walsh, who marshalled the City defence well, saw Dean Marney's late header rescue a point for us.
"It was a good run out," said Les. "I got another 85 minutes under my belt, that's what it was about. I was disappointed not to get on the scoresheet but I was pleased with how it went and I was able to work on the things I needed to work on."
Les admitted afterwards that he would love to play more of a part against Villa on Saturday than the 20 minutes he had off the bench at Everton last weekend.
He added: "I'm still a way away from full match fitness but I'll only get that with games. If the manager asks me to start on Saturday I'll be more than willing."
Les Ferdinand might have expected a slightly easier ride as he took another step nearer full match fitness at Coventry City last night.