Lillis previews Youth Cup test at Stoke
Town’s Under-18 side take on Stoke City in the Fourth Round of this season’s FA Youth Cup at the Britannia Stadium on Wednesday night – and Academy Manager Mark Lillis believes the game could play a big role in the continued development of the Club’s youngsters.
A Fifth Round tie against either Nottingham Forest or Rochdale awaits the victors in Wednesday’s 7pm kick-off, with entry to the game in Staffordshire priced at £3 for adults and £1 for Under-17s and Over-65s.
“This is a big factor in the development of our young players – how they handle the night and the game in front of a crowd at a big stadium,” Academy Manager Lillis explained to htafc.com.
“The First Team Manager and his technical staff will be there too, so it’s a stage for the players. I’m looking for them to embrace that stage and come away with lots of positives.
“It would have been nice to get a home draw so they could sample our ground, but if that wasn’t to be you can’t ask for more than a Premier League ground like Stoke. This will be a good test to see how we compare to them.”
Town favourite Lillis believes that the team is fully prepared for the test against the Potters
“We’ve had a couple of games; a friendly against Oldham and Saturday’s League match at Wigan. I watched our Under-16 side at the weekend, but I know the Under-18s set off very well and then looked a bit rusty so it was good to get that game under our belts. I think we are setup for a very good cup tie.”
Whereas Town won 3-0 at Hartlepool United in their Third Round tie thanks to goals from Kedesh Goddard, Joe Wilkinson and Duane Holmes, Stoke’s youngsters – who play in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League National Group B – recorded an equally impressive 4-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion.
This season is the first time the young Terriers have made it to the final 32 since the 2005/06 season, when they were defeated 2-1 at Carlisle United.
The Town and Stoke youngsters have met in the competition once before – on that occasion in the 1975/76 season, Town were 2-0 winners at the Old Leeds Road ground in front of a crowd of 610.
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