Mike Sheron has warned his Rovers youngsters not to underestimate Newport County when the Exiles make the trip to Ewood Park tonight.
Rovers enter the FA Youth Cup at the third round stage this evening whilst their Welsh counterparts have seen off Bridgwater Town and Uxbridge in rounds one and two respectively.
Sheron's side will come into the game as favourites, but he says the team will have to be wary when they come up against a club who will be buoyed by reaching this stage of the competition for the first time in their history.
“It’s a big opportunity for Newport’s players to come and play at Ewood Park themselves and I’m sure they’re enthusiastic about that," he told iFollow Rovers.
“We’re under no illusions. We need to be big enough and bright enough to cope with the challenge. We need to stick to our game plan and hopefully we can show what we’re about on the night.
“We feel as if we’re developing and improving and the confidence is growing with our performances despite the results not being great.
“We want to win more matches but we feel there is improvement on a daily basis."
The FA Youth Cup has been a well trodden path for young Rovers to make it through to the first team in recent years, with a number of the first team squad having previous experience in the competition, as Sheron alludes to.
“You look at Lewis Travis, Ryan Nyambe, Dan Butterworth, John Buckley, they’ve done really well in recent years, you’ve also got Darragh Lenihan and David Raya as well," he added.
“There’s loads of examples that these lads can look at. If you keep working hard, do what the coaches ask of you and show that determination and desire to succeed, the opportunities will be there.
“There’s nothing better than having some good examples that you can show, to show that what we’re doing at the Academy works.
“There will be bumps in the road, but you have to stick at it, keep going, persevere and show you can perform regularly.
“Hopefully fans will see lads that will go on to be first team players in the future. That’s our goal in the Academy and we never shy away from that.”