‘It is a chance for the boys to showcase their talents’ - Town youngsters set for FA Youth Cup clash

Joint U18s managers Adam Atay and Kieron Dyer Picture: ROSS HALLS

Joint U18s managers Adam Atay and Kieron Dyer Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town U18 lead coach Adam Atay says his young players have the chance to showcase their skills in tonight’s FA Youth Cup Third Round clash with non-league Andover Town at Portman Road.

The Wessex side have already played six games on their way to tomorrow evening’s tie with Town, who are clear favourites to progress to round four.

Atay, who works alongside Kieron Dyer with the Town U18s, says his team will be fully prepared.

“Personally I don’t question their mentality because they are a good bunch of boys,” Atay said.

“I like to think what we have done with our programme over the years is to prepare for each game with the same mentality.

“We take every game seriously and prepare with the focus on ourselves and what we can do.”

The FA Youth Cup is the pinnacle of the under-18 season for teams both at professional and non-league level.

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Ipswich Town have won the competition three times, the last time in 2005.

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And while performance over results is a phrase often heard in this age group, Atay feels winning is still important.

“Every result matters,” he said.

“Winning is important. Too often we hear that is isn’t, but it is.

“It adds to the mentality of players and is part of that development. We are all looking forward to it and it is a chance for the boys to showcase their talents.”

Atay and Dyer have made a good combination since the pair came together 18 months ago, something Atay acknowledges.

“Kieron has been brilliant,” he said.

“We speak virtually every day and obviously Kieron adds a lot of experience, with World Cups to draw on!

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“He’s been supportive to me and he has good interaction with the players.

“We will not change our approach for this game because we don’t want to add any more pressure on the boys than they are already under.”

Andover play in the Wessex League and beat Wingate & Finchley 8-7 on penalties in the last round.

They have also beaten two sides in extra-time on their way to tomorrow night’s clash.

“I did go and watch them against Wingate,” Atay added.

“They’ve played extra-time and won on penalties, so they have been exposed to different scenarios. But we will concentrate on our own game.”

Kick-off tonight is 7pm.

Andover’s road to Portman Road

Preliminary Round: Andover 1 Ardley Utd 0 (aet)

Qualifying Round 1: Andover 4 Bracknell 0

Qualifying Round 2: Kidlington 0 Andover 4

Qualifying Round 3: Welwyn Garden City 1 Andover 3 (aet)

Round 1: Phoenix Sports 1 Andover 4

Round 2: Wingate and Finchley 2 Andover 2 (Andover won on penalties)