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Youth Cup football returns to Ewood

Posted: Tue 11 Dec 2012
Author: rovers.co.uk

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Rovers’ Under-18s get their FA Youth Cup campaign underway this Tuesday evening against Leicester City.

Rovers reached the final of the prestigious cup competition last season, with the current crop of young stars eager to follow in their footsteps.

Ewood Park proved to be a happy hunting ground for the class of 2011-12, who kicked off their remarkable run with an 8-0 win at home to Thurrock.

Terry McPhillips’ side followed that up with home wins over Coventry (2-0) and Stoke (4-0), before Rovers conceded their first goals in the competition at the sixth round stage away to Newcastle, winning 3-0 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Over 20,000 fans saw Rovers defeat local rivals Burnley over two legs in the semi-final, before Chelsea claimed the youth crown, winning 4-1 on aggregate, despite Tim Payne scoring the only goal of the game in the return tie at Ewood Park.     

After coming so close to securing the silverware last season, McPhillips insists his young charges will be equally eager to impress on the big stage.

"You always plan to go one better, that is the game we are in,” he said.

"It is a chance for the lads to impress under the lights at Ewood Park. As young players, they are striving for this to be a regular occurrence. We are at home and we'll try and make that advantage pay, but it is how the lads deal with the situation on the night that is the key.

"We are under no illusions that it will be tough. Leicester have beaten us in the past. In my first FA Youth Cup match as coach we lost 3-1 at their place almost two years ago.

“Leicester have picked up recently in terms of results. They've two big strikers up front and defeated Crewe Alexandra 5-3 last time out, so they've got goals in them."

After some disappointing displays during the first stage of their Academy League season, McPhillips hopes the cup competition could be a welcome distraction.

"We haven't been doing quite so well on a Saturday morning as we did last year, so the FA Youth Cup could provide a boost for us in the remainder of the campaign,” he added.

A number of second-year scholars are expected to drop down from the Reserves, with McPhillips planning on playing as strong a side as possible for the cup clash. 

"We are able to include Reserve team regulars Kellen Daly, Robbie Cotton, Will Beesley and Curtis Haley, who all did so well last season in the competition, so that is great,” he added.

"We've got a few injury problems. Danny Laverty picked up an ankle injury in the 4-1 win over West Ham last weekend and there are a couple of other niggles.

"So we'll see how everyone is, pick the best team and give it a right good go."

Season ticket holders can gain free admission to the third round tie on production of their season ticket cards, while general admission prices are £4 for adults and £2 for concessions. Kick-off at Ewood Park is at 7pm. Rovers Player subscribers will be able to listen to commentary from Ewood also.