As our boys get deeper into the FA Youth Cup, more and more teams drop off – if they can win in Colchester on Tuesday evening, it’ll mean a place the quarter-final and a home tie against Arsenal.
Our Under-18s beat Millwall at Madejski Stadium in the third round, before coming from behind to force extra-time in the dying embers of their game Charlton… ultimately triumphing thanks to Danny Loader’s goal in the added 30.
Colchester, likewise, have had their own challenges – trailing 3-0 to Cheshunt in the first round, they overturned the deficit to win and have since seen off Crewe, Bishop’s Stortford and MK Dons. Our U18 manager David Dodds is expecting another tight tie.
“It’ll be another great night on a first-team ground,” Dodds said. “There’ll be people watching there from different clubs, and when you get further into the competition, you get on a bit of a roll.
“This is the fifth game for Colchester and our third – both teams are getting into the groove. It’ll be a great night, a good test, and you find out a bit about the players when they play under a bit of pressure.
“I imagine it will be similar to the last two games against Millwall and Charlton – it’ll be a tight affair and we’ll have to be at our best away from home if we want to progress to the next round.
“Colchester have had a situation where they’ve been down, and so have we in the last round, and we showed some mental strength to overcome that. It’s a good sign from both teams that they’re prepared to fight when the going gets tough.
“A lot of the lads have been pushed out of their comfort zones this year and they’ve played up with the Under-23s, and it’s interesting to see the mentality of them when they come back to play with our Under-18s. It has been very good so that’s a good sign.”
Entry will be paid on arrival at Weston Homes Community Stadium – Adult tickets are £7, Concessions £5, Under-14s £3 and Under-8s for £1.