Joe Whight needs to lead young Blues in FA Youth Cup

JUST six days after sitting on the bench for the Blues in the FA Cup, Joe Whight has been told to take a leading role in the youth version of the national competition.

Whight is again expected to start in the heart of Russell Osman’s academy side for the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup at Burnley (7pm ko).

The match is crucial in terms of the competition but also because many of the young Blues are coming towards the end of their two-year scholarship with a decision on their futures expected in the coming weeks.

And Sammy Morgan, academy director, believes Whight has a vital role to play, admitting: “We are looking for a good leaders’ performance from Joe. He has been honoured with a two-year contract by Paul Jewell and he has to show he is worth it.”

Morgan admitted the timing of the match – with the youngsterrs playing just one match since Christmas – could have been better, but refused to use that as an excuse.

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Town have slight injury concerns over Nicolay Schroder, who has suffered a recurrence of his knee problem, and Aaron Jones (dead leg) but they have still made the squad which travelling yesterday.

Morgan said: “We know Burnley are a strong side with a good midfield. It is not going to be an easy game but it is also a winnable match.

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“This will be a benchmark for our youngsters as they look to earn a professional contract. The second half of the season is always the time when you have to knock on their door and make a decision.

“We travelled up yesterday and stayed overnight before some light training this morning. This is as close as they have got to first team football.”

Town midfielder Jon Leddy added: “We’ve been struggling a little bit in the league this season but the Youth Cup is our main focus and we’re all fired up for the game.

“It will be a new experience for us, as we are away from Portman Road this time, but it won’t faze us and everyone is fit and raring to go.”

The winners are away to either West Brom or Reading.

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