Derby County and Ipswich Town go toe-to-toe tonight in the Fourth Round of the FA Youth Cup with Manchester City on their minds.
A home tie against City’s expensively assembled youth-team is the carrot dangling in front of both clubs in their quest for Youth Cup glory.
Darren Wassall’s side go into the game on the back of a 4-0 win over Gateshead in the third round and more recently, a 2-1 league success over Coventry City.
Ipswich Coach Russell Osman, who watched his team defeat Bristol City in the last round, is confident that his side won’t repeat the defensive mistakes made in their last league outing a 6-2 reverse against Charlton.
Instead he has pinned his hopes on a trio of forwards, Jack Marriott, Mark Timlin and Tom Winter – who have all demonstrated that they have a happy knack for finding the back of the net.
Marriott has hit 10 goals for the U18s this season, as well as scoring four for the U21s, while Winter and Timlin have both scored 5.
“Ipswich Town has a good reputation of performing well in the Youth Cup and the young players know that it means a lot to the club and is important,” said Osman, who, along with the players, will be based at the FA’s new home of football in Burton, St George’s Park, ahead of the match.
“It’s difficult at the moment to get a feeling as to how the team is doing as some of the players are playing in the U21s and U16s are moving up to play in the youth-team.”
“I am happy (with how it’s going) and if we perform well as a team then we have a good chance of going through but we’ll need our attacking players to be firing on all cylinders.”
“I am sure one or two will be in Mick McCarthy’s thoughts and when the first-team has acquired enough points this season, then I am sure he will look at certain players a bit longer and harder.”
Kick-off at Pride Park Stadium is at 7pm, and admission for Derby season ticket holders is FREE of charge. Non-season ticket holders can watch the game for just £3 for adults and £2 for concessions.