Jared Harlock knows just what it will take for Rovers Under-18s to overcome Arsenal in tonight’s FA Youth Cup quarter-final at Ewood Park.
The midfielder was on the scoresheet as Mike Sheron’s side defeated the Gunners 3-2 in the U18 Premier League Cup back in October.
Harlock has fond memories from that game and insists Rovers will have to be at their best in order to record a repeat result.
“I scored a goal to make it 1-1 that day,” he said. “It was a good game. We had a young side out and I think we competed really well.
“We’ll need to take the same tactics and the same enthusiasm into this game, and hopefully we can show our quality against them as well.
“It’s a southern club, so we don’t play them often. Charlton Athletic was a hard contest in the fourth round, but Arsenal will be more technical.
“We’ll need to get in their faces and get stuck in.
“We’re playing against one of the best teams in England, so they’re going to have very good players, so us competing against the best players in England will show what quality we have as well.”
Harlock has started every game for Rovers in this season’s FA Youth Cup campaign, which has seen Sheron’s side defeat Newport County (3-1), Charlton Athletic (1-0) and Preston North End (4-2) in the previous rounds.
The 17-year-old, who claimed a hat-trick of assists in the win over Preston, is relishing Rovers’ cup run and can’t wait to play again at Ewood Park, which he admits is starting to feel like ‘home’.
“We’re all raring to go and we can’t wait,” he added.
“Everyone’s looking forward to it. We had a good win against Preston, we worked hard, the mentality was there, from going 1-0 down and 2-1 down, to win 4-2, the boys were class.
“We showed that we were mentally strong and that we can play some good football, so it was a good game to play in.
“Getting to where we are now in the Youth Cup has been class. The league hasn’t been going as well as we would have liked, but the Youth Cup is something different and it’s special to play in.
“Having the fans backing us at Ewood, it was amazing having nearly 1,000 people there in the last round. It’s something that we’ve never experienced before, so it was great and we all enjoyed it.
“It’s been great being at home in every game. It’s definitely starting to feel like home and it’s great to play at Ewood.”
Kick-off at Ewood Park tonight is at 7pm. All supporters are welcome. Admission is £4 for adults and £2 concessions. Cash only on the turnstiles.