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EXPRESS YOURSELF...

23 February 2016

Hatters youngsters told do what they've done before in tonight's quarter-final

The Town Under-18s will told to express themselves tonight as they aim to reach the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup.

Paul Driver’s youngsters are just 90 minutes away from a place in the last four and a potential meeting with holders Chelsea over two legs when they take on Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park this evening.

Although tonight’s tie is the Town’s first this season in the competition against a Category 1 academy, Driver will not be changing anything for the meeting with Rovers.

“They’ll be allowed to play, we’ll tell them to express themselves, get on the ball, play and enjoy it,” Driver told lutontown.co.uk.

“It will be a case of saying to them ‘do what you have done before’. The fact that it’s Blackburn will make no difference. 

“We know what we will be up against. They are a higher ranked academy but we don’t think their style will be any different to what we’ve encountered already this season against the likes of Oldham and Preston.”

The Hatters saw off North End in the last round, edging through on penalties to book their place in the last eight.

And Driver hopes that their exploits throughout the competition this season – tonight’s tie will be their fifth successive away fixture in the Youth Cup – can be used to their advantage in Lancashire.

“When you bring in any player into the academy you know that there’s ability there,” explained the youth boss. “But you don’t always know their characters and how they will react in certain situations – and that’s an important factor.

“But we’ve found out this season that they are a strong-willed and resilient group who like a challenge. 

“They don’t give up – as we saw at Preston. We struggled in the last half-an-hour of normal time in that game and they could have folded. But they didn’t, they kicked-on, rose to the challenge and we got through.

“None of them have frozen and all we hope is that they will approach this game in the same way and give it a good go.”

With a potential televised tie at Stamford Bridge the prize for victory at Ewood Park, Driver believes the possibility of playing at a Premier League stadium is a massive incentive for his young team.

“Some of the boys are Chelsea fans, and a lot of remain good friends with Jay Dasilva, who they played with before he moved to Chelsea,” said Driver. “So there will be a big determination to win.

“But that’s not the only incentive. A place in the semi-finals regardless of the opposition [Chelsea play Reading in another quarter-final] would be a magnificent achievement and we know they will give it their absolute best shot.”

Tuesday’s tie kicks-off at 7pm at Ewood Park. Entry is £4 for adults and £2 concessions. Town supporters will use turnstile L of the Jack Walker Stand and can park in car park B at the Darwen End of the stadium. 

lutontown.co.uk will also be live from Ewood Park with live text updates together with post-match reports and reaction.

For those not travelling who would like to listen to the game, Live Sports FM will be broadcasting live commentary from Ewood. 

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