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We're excited and eager to do well, says Lewis

Young defender Thompson determined to see Rovers U18s progress to semi-final stage

6 March 2018

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Young full-back Lewis Thompson is eager for Rovers' FA Youth Cup journey to continue to the semi-finals.

Rovers Under-18s host Blackpool at Ewood Park this evening, kick-off 7pm, with a place in the last four the prize for the winners.

Billy Barr's side have enjoyed an impressive run to the sixth round stage and Thompson is determined not to let all of their good work go to waste.

"You can see in training this week, everyone is really at it, working hard and preparing right for the game," said the 18-year-old left-back.

"And making sure that when we get on the pitch we'll be ready and hopefully we can get the win.

"It's not been long since we played the last round and I think that quick turnaround means we'll have a bit more momentum and everyone is excited for the game.

"Everyone is really keen to push on.

"Last year, I feel we were a little bit unlucky to lose to Aston Villa in the fourth round and quite a lot of my age group, when we were first years, were involved in that.

"So we're really eager to do well in the competition this year and at our age it's probably the biggest competition that you can play in, so we're just eager to do well in it and hopefully get to the semi-finals."

Blackpool's passage to the quarter-finals has been equally impressive - having knocked out the likes of West Ham, Southampton and Ipswich - and Thompson knows Rovers will have to be at their best if they plan to progress. 

"They've had three games where perhaps some people wouldn't have expected them to win - West Ham, Southampton and Ipswich," added the Rovers defender, who joined the club from Manchester United at the start of last season.

"But to be fair to them, they've gone out and won those games.

"They're a really hard-working team and I think winning those games against those big clubs, they'll have a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum going into this one, so we've got to be on top of our game.

"Everyone is under no illusions that we've really got to work hard in this match because if we get beat here then it will all be for nothing." 

Tonight's tie will be Rovers' fifth successive home game in the competition, having seen off Wrexham, Stoke City, Watford and Nottingham Forest in the previous rounds.

Thompson admits that he is relishing running out at Ewood Park and hopes to be first team player here in the future.

"It's good to play at other grounds, especially if it's a big ground, but we've been lucky to have a run of home games and to play at Ewood Park is brilliant," he added.

"It's a massive stadium and even going into the changing rooms before the game is different to what we're used to down at the Academy, so it's a really good experience and that's what I want to end up doing in the future.

"Getting a taste of it now, you think that it's not too far away and the chance to actually play there week-in week-out becomes very real and hopefully in the future I can do that."

Admission for tonight's quarter-final tie is £4 for adults and £2 for concessions. Supporters will now be located in the Jack Walker Stand Upper Tier, via Turnstile H. Accessible facilities for wheelchair users will be available from the Jack Walker Stand reception. Please wrap up warm and take extra care on the access roads around the stadium.

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