Hatters youth team eye Youth Cup glory tonight
• FA Youth Cup fourth round
• Oldham 11th in North East Alliance
• Town beaten Colchester, Orient and Notts County so far
• Winners away to Preston in fifth round
• First time Town U18 side has reached this stage since 2006/07
• No Hatters youth team reached fifth round since 2002/03
The Under-18s aim to become the first Town youth team to reach the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup since 2002/03 when they take on Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park tonight.
Paul Driver’s side have swept all before them so far this season, winning the South East Youth Alliance and reaching the League Cup final.
But the carrot has well and truly been dangled as the winners of this evening’s tie can guarantee a category 3 academy side a place in the quarter-finals of the competition, with Preston waiting in the fifth round.
“The players know that there is an opportunity to take on a same-level academy in the next round,” said Driver.
“We’re confident but it’s important, however, that we don’t get complacent. Oldham are a tough, tough side and will have home advantage. They might be 11th in their section but you can forget about that when it comes to the Youth Cup.
“I watched them against Bournemouth in the last round so we know what to expect. We’ll treat it like any other game but the boys realise there is a chance to really exceed expectations if we’re successful.”
The Town, or Oldham, or Preston could meet either Aston Villa or Blackburn in a potential quarter-final and Driver thinks the draw has kept players’ minds focused.
“With the draw made in advance it gives us a good idea of who we could be playing,” he said. “We could have drawn a Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool or Spurs and the lads may have been affected by that.
“A potential big draw might have had the opposite effect because they may have feared missing out on playing a big academy side.”
Kick-off is at 7pm and entry at Boundary Park is £4 adults and £2 concessions.
Good luck, boys!