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15 December 2015

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Hatters youngsters aim for fourth round spot

The Town Under-18s travel to Notts County tonight in the FA Youth Cup aiming to become the first Hatters youth team in nine years to reach the fourth round of the competition.

Paul Driver’s side are unbeaten in 21 matches this season and take on a Notts side who have won nine of their last 11 matches.

Kick-off is at 7pm and entry is on the turnstile on the night at Meadow Lane. Admission is £3 adults and £1 concessions.

Ahead of the big match, here are the stats you need to know:

• The Town Under-18s sit top of the Youth Alliance South East Division.

• Notts County are fifth in the Alliance’s North East section.

• Paul Driver’s side are unbeaten in 21 matches in all competitions this season.

• The Hatters youngsters beat Colchester and Leyton Orient to reach round three. County beat Northampton and Rochdale.

• The Hatters and Notts County are both Category C-rated academies. Although technically in different divisions based on geography, they in essence play at the same level.

• Notts have won seven and lost five of their 12 matches so far in their division and lie three points behind leaders Mansfield.

• County have won nine of their last 11 matches in all competitions, scoring 28 goals in the process.

• The Town have won 14 of their 16 league matches and have a five-point lead over second-placed Southend with two games in hand.

• Paul Driver’s side are also protecting a 29-match unbeaten run, including eight games at the end of last season.

• Of the 50 clubs in the Youth Alliance (Category 3) no other club has scored more goals than the Hatters’ 52 (Barnet next best with 42).

• Freddie Hinds, who scored the winner in the last round at Leyton Orient, is the Town’s leading goalscorer with 12 goals. Fellow striker George Murray is next with 10, while midfielder Kavan Cotter and forward James Verney both have eight to their name.

• No team has won more points than the Town’s 44. The Hatters have conceded just eight league goals this season – no side has conceded less.

• The Town’s defence has kept 13 clean sheets in 21 matches in all competitions.

• The winners of the tie are guaranteed to meet another Category 3 side in the fourth round in either AFC Bournemouth (third in South West) or Oldham (11th in North East).

The Town in the FA Youth Cup:

• The furthest any Town team has gone in the competition is the semi-finals – twice.

• The last Hatters side to go that far was the class of 1996/97, who lost over two legs to eventual winners Leeds United. The Town side contained the likes of Liam George, Gary Doherty and Sean Evers; while Leeds had future stars Harry Kewell, Jonathan Woodgate and Paul Robinson in their ranks.

• The Town also were knocked out at the last-four stage by Norwich back in 1982/83. 

• No Hatters youth team has reached the fourth round of the competition since the class of 2006/07. 

• The last time the Town competed at the third round stage was two seasons ago when Paul Driver’s side went down 3-1 at Huddersfield with Zane Banton on target.

• The Hatters have won their last 11 FA Youth Cup ties played at Kenilworth Road, scoring 65 goals in the process.

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