"You've come this far..." will be the message to Town youngsters
Youth Team boss Paul Driver will tell his side to continue in the same vein as they have all season when they take on Preston North End in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night.
The Hatters Under-18s travel to Deepdale aiming to become the first Luton youth team to reach the quarter-finals of the competition since 1996/97.
And Driver believes his team have nothing to fear when they take on another category 3-rated academy side away from Kenilworth Road for the third youth cup tie running.
“We’re preparing exactly the same as we have for the previous tie against Oldham and we’re hoping that all of the experience we’ve had of playing away games will work in our favour,” Driver told lutontown.co.uk.
“We know we’re going into an unknown environment: different pitch, different changing room, different stadium, but in terms of cup games we’ve travelled to Bristol Rovers, Bournemouth, Orient, Notts County and Oldham already this season so that’s not going to be an issue.”
Preston lie mid-table in the Youth Alliance North West division, have won six of their last eight fixtures in all competitions and will want to take on Lancashire rivals Blackburn in a potential quarter-final.
But the Hatters have only lost three times all season, and Driver says the Town will approach the game just like they have in the previous ties this term.
“We’ve got to be strong in midfield – I think that is where the game will be won or lost,” he said. “We’re strong in that area so I won’t be changing anything, but the front two have got to take their chances and the back four will have to minimise chances for the opposition.
“It will be a similar message to the whole team: have faith and trust yourself and your team-mates. You’ve come this far and it’s not much different to who you have played in the past and we’ve got through them games.
“It’s not like we’re playing a Man City, Arsenal or Chelsea where we’d have to play a different way. We will be playing the same way as we’ve played against the other sides so far.
“All we need to do is go out there and do exactly the same as we have done in this competition, in the League Cup and in the League – and with a bit of luck we’ll get through.”
Wednesday’s tie kicks-off at 7pm at Deepdale. The Sir Tom Finney stand [south] will be open for both sets of fans on the night – tickets are priced as £2 for adults and £1 for concessions – there will be cash entry at turnstiles with free entry for season ticket holders of both clubs.
For those who can’t make the game, Preston’s PlayerHD service will be offering a live video stream and commentary of the game. Hatters Player subscribers can log in using their usual details on Preston’s Player to access and watch the game.
We will also be live from Deepdale with live text updates together with post-match reports and reaction.