U18s Host Blades in Youth Cup Quarter-Final
Friday, 30th Apr 2021 13:43
Town’s U18s are in FA Youth Cup quarter-final action against Sheffield United at Portman Road this evening with a home semi-final tie against Liverpool or Arsenal awaiting the winners (KO 5pm).
U18s manager Adem Atay says his side are looking forward to the game and playing in front of more of the Blues’ fanbase with the match being streamed live by the Blades here with UK-based fans able to watch free of charge.
“The lads are excited," Atay, who is assisted by Blues legend Jason Dozzell, told the club website.
“They're all looking forward to the game, as is everyone at the club. It's a great opportunity for them to show their ability and talent to a wider audience.
“We're hoping that the players can embrace the opportunity and give everything they've got to win the game. There's a fantastic team spirit and unity here, and the lads have shown that to make it to this stage of the competition.
“This one is going to be a very tough game, we know that. They're a good club and on the night they'll fancy themselves, as will we - that should make for an exciting encounter.
“The boys know they can't play to the occasion, though. They need to stick to the process and play the game; play to win a football match.
“Yes, they understand what is at stake, but if they focus on that then it serves as a distraction and then they won't focus on the task.
“We've prepared well and we're the only club still in the competition that has been in it since round one - hopefully our experiences to get this far help us. We're looking forward to it.”
The U18s beat Southend 4-1 at home in round one, won 5-0 away at Chelmsford in the second round, then dramatically came from behind to beat Fulham, who have a category one academy, 3-2 at Portman Road in round three.
They followed that up with a 3-1 home victory over Swindon before a 1-0 win away against another category one academy, Middlesbrough, in round five earlier this month.
The Blues are the only club from outside the Premier League still in the competition, although Friday’s opponents, who are third in Professional Development League Two North, also have a category two academy.
In addition to their Youth Cup success, Town’s U18s have secured a place in the end-of-season Professional Development League Two play-offs by finishing second in their division.
Town have won the FA Youth Cup on three occasions, in 1973, 1975 and 2005.
Photo: Action Images
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