Blues youths go in search of FA Youth Cup success

Steve Spooner and assistant Karl Hooper.

The winners of Friday's contest already know that the prize up for grabs at the Quarter-Final stage is an away trip to Norwich City.


Blues Under-18s will be seeking to reach the last eight of the FA Youth Cup when they take on Bury in a Fifth Round tie at Gigg Lane on Friday evening (7pm).

Steve Spooner's charges will be testing themselves against a Bury side that dispatched Second City rivals Aston Villa - a Category One academy club - 1-0 in the previous round.

With the Sixth Round draw already having already been made, the winners of Friday's contest already know that the prize up for grabs at the Quarter-Final stage is an away trip to Norwich City.

Blues Academy Coach Spooner is relishing his side's task at hand but says he and his players will show the utmost respect to the Shakers.
"Bury had a wonderful result against Aston Villa in the last round and are here on merit," said Spooner.

"Up and down the country there are one or two shocks and we have to make sure that we're not on the end of a shock result.

"But the players have looked very good in training; they have looked calm and enthusiastic and focused.

"Probably the most difficult part is trying to keep them down, so they don't get ahead of themselves."

From what he has seen of Bury, Spooner has been impressed by their style of play and the quality of their players.

"It's a one-off game and we all know that anything can happen and Bury will be fancying their chances after beating Villa," he continued.  "We will be treating them with the respect that they deserve.

"They mix their game up and have got some good footballers in their team.

"There are a few players in there that have really caught my eye and look very good.

"We're not anticipating a route one game, we will be anticipating one against a team that likes to pass it as well.

"Their coach has got them well organised and they work very hard for each other and I think it's going to be a tough game for us."

Blues reached this stage of the Cup with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sheffield United at St. Andrew's last time out.

Blues were missing two key players for that game because of injury - Irish youth internationals Leo Brown and Caolan Boyd-Munce.

Brown has recently returned to action after a knee injury. Boyd-Munce was ruled out 24 hours before the tie after suffering concussion in training.

Whilst Spooner would obviously not be drawn on whether the duo start he says that their availability is a boost to the squad.

"A couple of players come back in that weren't available in the last round which bodes well for a more competitive squad," he said.
"That gives us some problems as coaches in that we've got to ascertain who are the correct players to use.

"We change the team around to what we think will be best for us against the opposition.

"But whichever players start, they've all got the bit between their teeth particularly because they know who they've got in the next round and Bury will be looking at that as well.

"In each game they play they will be raising their own profile, so they're very keen on progressing and they want to achieve because it is still a very prestigious competition that gets good TV coverage.

"I think there are only two Premier League clubs in the Quarter-Finals now, so it's a very open competition this year the way the games have gone."