FA Youth Cup: Ipswich Town Preview
By Kevin Affleck
Watford’s Academy are gearing up for their biggest game in many seasons tonight when they host Ipswich Town in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup.
The Hornets have been in giant-killing form in this season’s competition, knocking out last season’s semi-finalists, Birmingham City, in the third round and then toppling Southampton, a Category One Academy outfit, in the fourth round.
Now they are pitched against the Tractor Boys, and Under-18 Assistant Coach Tom Hart is excited about overseeing another special night under the lights at Wingate & Finchley FC, the scene of their last two wins.
“We’re so excited,” said Hart. “These are massive games for us. We are back at Wingate where we have really created some momentum and it’s a big game for their development. It’s a little bit different from playing at 10.30am at London Colney. We are playing for a quarter-final spot in the FA Youth Cup. The draw has really opened up and we are just trying to see how far we can go.”
The winners will play Leicester City away next month, but first Ipswich need to be overcome, which will be no mean feat. They are second in the Under-18 Professional Development on the back of seven straight wins. They beat Andover Town 4-0 in the third round and then Gillingham, 2-1, in the last round.
Honours are even after the two league matches between the two sides: the Hornets won the home game 2-0 in October thanks to goals from Dom Hutchinson and Jayden Bennetts, while Ipswich won the return fixture 3-1 in December.
“The league is a lot different to the FA Youth Cup as their better players will have played up in the 23s so we might not have seen them,” said Hart. “We'll do our homework and just worry about ourselves. We’ll try to be at our best and hopefully that is enough to beat Ipswich.”
Tickets for the game, which kicks off at 7pm, can be purchased on the turnstiles at The Maurice Rebak Stadium this evening.
Season ticket holders go free!