Academy Coach David Dodds looks forward to the Youth Cup quarter finalAhead of Reading’s Youth Cup tie away at Stamford Bridge on Friday, U18s coach David Dodds is looking forward to what he thinks will be an exciting occasion.
The young Royals knocked Wolves out in the last round of the competition and have also beaten Fulham and Sheffield United en route to the quarter finals.
“The Youth Cup games are great games and great nights, we’ve seen what Chelsea can do but we’re really looking forward to it,” said Dodds. “The Youth Cup always provides a little bit of pressure so you can see how the lads react but the team are in good fettle and that’s important.
“Sheffield United pushed us right to the hilt and with thirty seconds to go we managed to take it to extra time and get through that. We then had a difficult test at Fulham but we came away with the result and at Wolves we put in a strong display.”
Dodds believes he can learn a lot about his team when they face Chelsea in a high pressure scenario at Stamford Bridge and will have his squad back to full strength after a couple of the youngsters gained some valuable experience training with the first team squad.
“These games are the closest I think to a first team debut, Josh Barrett has been away with the first team, training with them and doing well,” said Dodds. “He’s back with the lads and back in U18s training now and himself and Gabriel Osho who have both been training with the first team have come back and fitted in perfectly which is great news.
“The league that we’re in is a great way to measure ourselves against the big clubs and measure our academy against the best of theirs which is great. I’ve seen the lads really grow this season as a team both on and off the pitch. In pre-season we got little inklings of a good season to come.
“As the season has progressed they’ve picked up some great results and there are now a few lads in our squad that look like they could be ready to take the step up.”
Tickets for Friday's fixture cannot be purchased on the gate; all sales must be made in advance of the game. For full ticketing informationclick here.