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U18s primed for Thursday's FA Youth Cup Fourth Round tie

10 January 2018

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Speaking ahead of Thursday's Fourth Round FA Youth Cup clash at home to Middlesbrough, Head Coach Jorden Gibson says that preperations are going well.

"It has been a good couple of days, we have been training yesterday and training this morning and the boys seem really focused.

"It is the FA Youth Cup, everyone loves the competition. However, we have done what we have done every single round before and tried to prepare as if it was a league fixture and three points are up for grabs.

"There is a bit of added spice as it is an opposition that is coming down from a different league that we haven't faced before and from a different category so it should be an exciting tie.

"There has been quite a lot of interest so hopefully we will have a decent crowd there.

"The main thing I ask them to do is to just be themselves. We as a staff don't want them doing anything different and if they can do that, we will be pleased and proud regardless."

Three comprehensive wins away from home have seen Gibson's group reach the Fourth Round stage in style, with 11 goals scored and just 3 conceded.

Reflecting on the journey so far, Gibson says he couldn't be more pleased.

"Immense pride. I think they have done our club loads of justice. They have shown what type of people and what a good footballing team they are.

"Luton Town is a tough place to go, Bromley was always going to be a tricky one and then to go away to Fleetwood and as you could have seen from the goals, we scored some good goals but to play well as a team throughout, it gets us to where we are today."

The headline grabber so far has been Andrinocos Georgiou, the fleet-footed attacker who has scored 6 goals in the competition to date.

Often so important to either make the breakthrough or seal the deal, his attacking contribution can't be overstated.

Although Andronicos is a shoe-in to start tomorrow night, fellow Second Year Scholar and stand-out man, Ben Wilmot's involvement is still up in the air.

"It is still open. It will depend on what the First Team manager requires for Saturday because ultimately it is about getting players in the First Team. He is now there and if he is to stay there, then fair play to him, if he is to come down, great!

"He did very well (against Reading for the First Team) but we are watching from the stands and we aren't nervous because we know what Ben can do. I am really pleased for him but so are the boys."

The fixture will be the first time that Stevenage U18s will face Middlesbrough U18s and Gibson says it will likely be a step-up from what they have come up against so far this season.

"Me and the Head of Recruitment, Ian Morris went up on the Thursday after the Fleetwood game and we watched them. We have done our analysis and they are a good side, there is no question about that.

"They have got a good history of bringing young players through but then so have we.

"You look at this weekend and Ben making his debut for the First Team in the FA Cup and doing really well. Various other graduates like Ben Kennedy, Dale Gorman, Jamie Gray, Mark McKee etc etc, so it will be a good test for two Academies."


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