The date of our FA Youth Cup Third Round tie against Aston Villa has been set for Friday 11th December, kicking off at 7pm at Madejski Stadium.
Our Under-18s were paired against the Midlands side in last week’s draw – at this stage, there are still plenty of representatives from non-League clubs in the draw, including Bedford Sports Club, Irlam, K Sports and Bugbrooke St Michaels...
... so arguably we have been handed one of the toughest ties going, with Villa currently sitting second in the U18 Premier League (South) standings. It is one of just two all-top-tier clashes in the Third Round this season, the other being Norwich City’s visit to Wolves.
Under the stewardship of Michael Donaldson and Mikele Leigertwood, the Royals will be looking to overcome the first hurdle under the floodlights in RG2 against a Villa side with a bit of history in the competition.
Villa have lifted the trophy on three occasions in the past; their most recent triumph was in 2002 when a side featuring Steven Davis, Liam Ridgewell and Peter Whittingham managed to overcome an Everton outfit spearheaded by a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney, over two legs.
We’ll be aiming to stop them in their tracks, and instead to make our own inroads towards the latter stages – as our prolific Academy has done on many occasions in recent seasons. It was Villa, however, who ended those ambitions in the Fourth Round two seasons ago - even with the likes of Michael Olise and Dejan Tetek representing Reading - so there’s a chance for payback for our next generation!
Similarly to our first-team fixtures, this game will be played behind closed doors with fans not permitted to enter. We will release information about live coverage of this fixture closer to the date of the game.