Can youths succeed against Sunderland?

IT will be a family affair at Portman Road tonight when parents, brothers and sisters and old school friends of the Ipswich Town class of 2004 turn up to cheer their favourites on.

IT will be a family affair at Portman Road tonight when parents, brothers and sisters and old school friends of the Ipswich Town class of 2004 turn up to cheer their favourites on, writes David Vincent.

Town's Academy kids take on the Black Cats for the right to another home tie in the next round, against the winners of Cirencester Town and Crewe Alexandra, who also meet today.

Town captain Scott Mitchell said: “We are really looking forward to it. Nobody really expected us to win at Leeds in the last round.

“The crowd got on our backs a bit and we reacted well. It couldn't be going better for us.


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“We are feeling confident of going further. We hope there is a big crowd there for us.”

Mitchell was on the bench for the first team on Saturday, also against Sunderland, in the FA Cup.

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And Liam Manning added: “Our team spirit has really been good since that win at Leeds and we have had some good results in the league, including winning at Norwich.”

That one was special for Manning, from Bungay, as other school friends went to train with the Canaries youth academy.

“One, Lee Catchpole, was at Norwich but he was released and he is now at Watford but they have been knocked out of the Youth Cup.”

Ipswich upset the odds by winning 2-1, after extra time, at Leeds United in December.

Manning came on as a substitute at Elland Road, in their 2-1 win, and was also on the bench last year when Town went out of the competition to Notts County at Portman Road.

Several of those U17s of last year are playing regular reserve football now, including Mitchell, Manning and Scott Barron.

Barron, like his team-mate Mitchell, is from Cambridgeshire and he will have big personal support in the crowd.

“It was a big disappointment going out last season against Notts County, but I think we can keep it going this time.

“I have played everywhere, at the back, in midfield and behind the front man. I have been left back for the reserves and I have been enjoying that.

“We have worked out how to beat Sunderland, I think we have got the players.

“Some good teams have already gone out, like Manchester City, and Norwich have got Manchester United.

“It would be a great final, Ipswich v Norwich, that would do for me!

“I think we have as good a chance as anyone left in it of getting to the final.

“There is a real belief to be honest, among everyone here.”

Barron's mum and dad, Anne and Paul will be there as well as other family friends and school mates.

His dad Paul, now a teacher, was on the books of Middlesbrough but he had to quit football after a knee injury.

Barron added: “Personally the season is going very well for me.

“I joined the club when I was 11 or 12 and had previously had trials for Cambridge United but I chose Ipswich.

“My mum and dad brought me down from St Ives every Tuesday and Thursday for training for years, it must be nearly 80 miles.

“The FA Youth Cup is special. I think we will win the game, I will be disappointed if we don't.”

“We had a difficult start to the season but now we have played a few games it is going well, it takes time to gell.

“But we have got stronger as the season has gone on.”

The Ipswich squad trained on Saturday while Sunderland won an FA Premier Under-19 game against Huddersfield 3-2 with two goals from Chris Kingsberry and one from Niall Flynn.

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