Youth Team Coach Jimmy Unwin is hopeful Cambridge United’s U18s can show a high level of professionalism and bravery as they look to progress through the Second Round of the FA Youth Cup at Yeovil Town tonight.
“The pressure in the Youth Cup is always on the home side, we’ve got the travel that is involved with it and going across there we have the mentality of nothing to lose,” said Unwin.
“We want the boys to embrace that and put on a good performance.
“We certainly expect a tough match against Yeovil, they have some match winners within their group, as we have. It’s all about nullifying their threat and getting our match winners on the ball to win the game for us.
“The players who want to play at a professional level ultimately must be able to handle the occasion. It is a knockout cup situation. They need to be able to showcase their talents and not be afraid to get on the ball, show a real bravery.”
Discussing the long away trip ahead of the team, Unwin explains how the game provides an extra opportunity for the players to gain experience away from the pitch by learning the importance of correct preparation.
He said: “In the build up to this game we have spoken with the group a lot about how professional they are going to need to be in preparation and how they conduct themselves. That includes getting up in the morning having a good breakfast, along the route making sure they hydrate properly and doing the right things.
“A lot of things have also been done for them, such as the travel where they would usually go with parents.
“We are going on the first team coach, when we get to Yeovil we’ll be having a pre-match in a hotel that the first team use so it’s a good experience for the boys to see what it like to be professional 24/7.”
A third round tie against Category One Reading at the Abbey Stadium is the potential winning prize if the U’s can overcome the Glovers this evening, but Unwin says it’s key the young U’s put aside that thought and focus only on executing their game plan at Huish Park.
“We have to get through Yeovil first, that really is the important thing.
“We don’t want the boys to focus on what could come in the next round, albeit playing a massive test against a Cat One club would be a great experience, particularly at the Abbey where the pitch is beautiful.
“But again we simply have get to Yeovil tonight and do the job first.”