FA Youth Cup – Blues won’t take Bury lightly

Kieron Dawes and his Blues Under-18s team mates.

We will treat Bury with respect. The Fifth Round is far into the competition. That shows they must be good to have got there.

Kieran Dawes

The Under-18s face Bury on Friday night with a place in the Quarter-Finals of the FA Youth Cup at stake.

The Shakers caused a shock by knocking out Aston Villa in the previous round – thus ruining the prospect of a Second City derby.

So Blues youngsters won’t be expecting anything but a testing contest at Gigg Lane (7pm) in a match to be live streamed on BluesTV.

Blues defender Kieron Dawes told “We will treat Bury with respect. The Fifth Round is far into the competition. That shows they must be good to have got there.

“We won’t go into the game thinking we could stroll through. We will give them respect we would give a bigger team.

“We all thought Villa were going to win in the previous round. So that just shows you can’t take them lightly and what you expect to happen doesn’t always happen.”

An away game at Norwich City awaits the winners of the Fifth Round tie. And thereafter the prospect of Chelsea – who have triumphed in the competition for the last four years – looms large in the Semi-Finals.

Due to the way the FA Youth Cup is drawn, future potential opponents are known in advance.

Dawes, 18, said: “Some of us look who might be ahead in the next round, others look at one game, this next game.

“If we win Friday, then we will think about the next. That’s the best way to prepare.”

Dawes is right-back for the Under-18s, who disposed of Bristol City (away) and then Sheffield United at St. Andrew’s to get this far.

Steve Spooner’s side are able to mix their play up depending on the opposition. But they will stick primarily to their possession-based philosophy.

“Our style is to pass the ball around, keep the opposition moving,” said Dawes. “Once we do that the opposition get tired and the gaps open up for our number 10, Odin Bailey, to put players in and get shots off.

“The Sheffield game, it was a bit of a weird one. At the start we looked a bit shaky, but we just had to land on the second balls, first balls – that was their threat – and then play our own game.

“We did that and got the win. It was a great experience to play at St. Andrew’s obviously we want to keep this cup run going for as far as possible.”

Dawes’ story is one that every aspiring footballer should take heed of.

The former Hamstead Hall Academy pupil from Erdington came to Blues Academy aged eight but failed to get a scholarship – first time round.

After his release Mark Fogarty, who brought him to Blues when working at the Club, persuaded him to join Solihull Moors, where he is Director of Sport. And that got his career back on track at Blues in October 2016.

Dawes recalled: “I didn’t get my scholarship. I tried out at two or three clubs but I didn’t really like them.

“I went to Solihull Moors for about eight months. There was one game I played and Blues were there – apparently they were looking at me from before anyway – and they asked me did I want to go back on trial.

“There was this club and a couple of others but I decided to come back here, I knew the coaches, the players.

“When I first didn’t get a scholarship I thought that was it, things were over.

“At Solihull Moors I realised I could get a contract elsewhere, if not at Blues. So I carried on working hard.
“Eventually I got the scholarship.

“It wasn’t a problem coming back. I just thought I would go and prove why I think I should have got it first time round.

“Mark Fogarty knew me from before and asked me to Solihull, but I didn’t want to go at first. He spoke to my dad and me and I realised I just had to get my career back on track.”