Town U18 boss Alan Lee won’t be taking Dagenham & Redbridge lightly in FA Youth Cup tonight
Ipswich Town U18 Academy boss Alan Lee is hoping his young charges can keep up the proud Blues tradition of success in youth football, with victory against Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Youth Cup Fourth Round tonight, at Portman Road, 7pm ko.
The Town youngsters produced a super result in winning at Everton in round three – and while development is the main philosophy for players at this age, Lee knows the FA Youth Cup – a competition Ipswich have won three times (1973, 1975 and 2005), is a competition where the result often feels as important as the performance.
“It’s the nature of the competition,” Lee, a popular Town striker, who played more than 100 times for the Blues, admitted.
“We always try to get a result, but the result is secondary to the boys’ development. Yet the Youth Cup feels like the result is what matters – however we set up to play.”
Lee’s U18 side have endured a mixed bag of results so far this season, but produced one of their best efforts at Goodison Park in the last round.
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Ross Marshall and Idris El Mizouni were on target as Town knocked the Toffees out with a 2-1 victory.
In contrast to Premier League Everton, Dagenham & Redbridge are a non-league academy set-up – not that Lee will be taking any notice of that.
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“There will no complacency in our team, this is youth football, we must remember that,” Lee said.
“No-one would have said we would have gone to Everton, one of top teams in the country who have beaten Manchester City, and upset them the way we did.
“Dagenham are a strong team, they’ve scored loads of goals on their way to this point, we know a couple of their players. We are in for tough game, make no doubt about it. If the lads don’t respect the occasion, they could be in for a nasty surprise.
“Listen, we have a great set of young lads. Every game they work their hardest, have really good attitudes. We are playing good football recently.
“The club has a proud tradition of bringing through players. It would be great if people came and gave them support.”
While Ipswich have only played Everton in a previous round of this season’s competition, Dagenham have already played five rounds, starting in the second qualifying round back in October.
Their manager is former Watford man, Micah Hyde.
“The team has been good all season. I felt positive after winning comprehensively against Oxford United in the last round. We defended well and took our chances. Hopefully we will be a tough test for Ipswich.
“We want to win, but what happens if we lose? I’ve got to be careful and try and make sure that I control and manage the excitement and expectations of the players. If we do get knocked out it’s not the end of the world, but if we do make it through then we are on top of the world.”
The winners entertain Blackpool or Southampton in the last 16.