Brighton & Hove Albion under-18s’ joint head coach Mark Beard emphasised that this evening’s FA Youth Cup third round tie with Newcastle United at the Amex Stadium is in a competition that should be relished.
The Seagulls host the Magpies this evening with a place in the fourth round of the competition up for grabs, and Beard spoke fondly of the cup’s history.
He said: “It’s a great competition for the boys to be in and it’s probably the biggest youth competition in football.
“We had a good win against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday who play in a similar way to Newcastle, so that should give the boys some confidence going into the game, because we’ve not been on the best of runs.
“Aaron Connolly has come across from the under-23s and scored a hat-trick at the weekend so that gave us another boost, and everyone’s looking sharp in training too.
“We’ve played Newcastle earlier on in the season in the Premier League Cup and beat them 3-2, so it was close and we know what they’re about.
The game against Newcastle this evening takes place at the Amex and the joint head coach revealed that his side would be familiar with the environment given that they’ve already played at the venue earlier on in the current campaign.
“It’s great to play at the Amex again for the boys – we had Aston Villa in the league and drew 2-2 – that was nice so hopefully that will eliminate any sort of fear factor and once the whistle goes, it’ll be just another game.
“We just want to do the tournament justice and do as well as we possibly can and have a nice run like we did last year.”
After this evening’s cup encounter the team have a month’s break until their next competitive fixture, and Beard – who takes charge of the side with fellow joint head coach Michael Harris, highlighted that it would be nice for everyone involved to go into the festive period on a high.
“This is our last competitive until January so it makes it more significant and it would be nice to head into the next few weeks with a good feeling in the squad.
“In recent years the draw hasn’t gone our way too much and we’ve been drawn against other Category One sides but we’re ready and the boys are buzzing for this one.
“We’ve got 19 fit players and I can only pick so many – but that’s a really nice problem for us to have and everyone’s eager to be involved.”
Tickets for tonight's game cost £5 for adults, and £2 for over-65s and under-16s.
These can be purchased now online or via the Albion Booking Line on 0844 327 1901*
Season-ticket holders are advised that cup games are not part of the season-ticket package, and must purchase tickets separately if they wish to attend.
*Calls cost seven pence per minute plus your network access charge.