Stevenage U18s will begin this season's FA Youth Cup campaign with a home tie against Needham Market tonight (7pm).
Only the West Stand will be open for spectators and tickets will be available on the turnstiles at £5 adults and £2 concessions (over 60s, under-16s and disabled).
If the scores are level at full time, there will be 30 minutes extra time and then penalties if required. The winner of this time will host either Wealdstone or Dagenham & Redbridge in Round 2 of the competition.
Stevenage will be hoping to repeat their exploits of two seasons ago when they reached the fourth round for the first time in the club’s history, seeing off Luton (3-0), MK Dons (6-2) and Premier League Wigan (2-1) before eventually falling to a 4-3 defeat to Barnsley at Oakwell.
Speaking at Shephalbury earlier in the week Head of Youth Darren Sarll told us, “The FA Youth Cup presents a really good test for us. Last year saw us dumped out at Round 1 because of a giant-killing at Barton Rovers so it’s nice that we’ve got a chance to right wrongs. It’s an opportunity to learn from what we’ve done in the past and overcome that. Whereas in previous years I’ve played down the FA Youth Cup and kept the boys calmer I’m really hoping to build it up and get them excited this time.
“The FA Youth Cup has provided me with so many good nights as a player and coach and I’m really looking forward to playing at The Lamex. It’s a great competition and it’ll be a good opportunity at the stadium as the boys don’t get to play there very often. Under the lights in midweek is an experience that young players don’t often have either.
“I’ve been to watch Needham Market play once and have some good players. You don’t go through three qualifying rounds without having some good footballers and being organised and having some good coaching. It’s a good test and hopefully we can get a few people to come and watch too.”