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See the Under-21s take on the Saints for free at Ewood this Monday

13 April 2015

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Rovers Under-21s are on cup alert at Ewood Park this evening when they take on Southampton in the 1st leg of the U21 Premier League Cup final.

After defeating Aston Villa, Newcastle United, and Reading on their way to the final, the young Rovers' reward is a two-legged match against the Saints.

Monday's vistors have seen off Ipswich Town, Norwich City, Watford and Derby County to teach the final stage and Development squad boss Eric Kinder believes it will be a tough ask for Rovers against a Southampton side that is fifth in the Barclays U21 Premier League Division 1 table.

"They are the benchmark at the moment and full credit to them," said Kinder. "You have seen the quality of player that has come through their youth system to be part of their first team.

"This will be tough, this will be really tough, but it is exciting, we are all looking forward to it."

With the first team's injury problems meaning several of Kinder's regulars have been on senior duty, the squad could be younger than has featured in the previous rounds.

Kinder added: "If you look back at the early rounds when we played Aston Villa and Newcastle, both rounds were in one week in January when our five loan players came back.

"So it has toughened us up, O'Sullivan, Lenihan, David Raya, they were all back for those two rounds which give us a lift and it gave us the strength and it got us through to a semi-final.

"Then the younger players had to take over and in the semi-final they did ever so well against Reading and now they find themselves in a final so they deserve their couple of nights out that they are going to get.

"But we won't know the make up of our team until Sunday lunch, until the first team have come back from Reading. Then they've got to go down to Birmingham on Tuesday so the manager might need to pull a few of the younger ones out of the cup final. That is life, we have to get on with it..

"It doesn't help, but if they are around the bench or even playing at Birmingham on Tuesday night then there'll be nobody more delighted than me.

"That is the whole idea of Academy football. Not winning cup finals, not even getting to cup finals. It helps, but it is all about who turns out for that first XI week in, week out, either on Tuesday or in five years time."

Rovers are offering free entry to supporters for tonight's match. The Jack Walker Stand Lower will be open, kick-off is at 7.00pm.

The second leg takes place at St. Mary's Stadium on Monday 20th April, kick-off 7.00pm.

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