Youth Will Be Served

LESS than two weeks before Derek Adams’ Pilgrims embark on the road to Wembley...

...Argyle’s youngsters begin their own cup quest.

The Young Greens take in Portsmouth on Wednesday evening at Home Park in the first round of the FA Youth Cup.

“It is probably the highlight of the season for the younger lads,” said Academy Head Kevin Hodges. “It’s slightly different to the youth games - the games are played on the bigger stage, which is what everybody likes doing.

“That can affect people in different ways. It is a test of their character and mental strength, being involved in such games.

In the 2013-14 competition, an Argyle side containing current professionals Ben Purrington, Aaron Bentley, Louis Rooney and Callum Hall reached the third round stage when – just like in the senior competition – the country’s top teams enter the fray.

The Young Pilgrims went down fighting away to Aston Villa, losing an epic tie 4-3.

“A couple of years ago, we took on the challenges, ventured through a few of the rounds and ended up playing at Villa Park,” said Kevin. “Some of the players are still with us, some have gone, but they will have those memories for ever.

“It’s nice to progress, simply because you’re playing against teams you don’t normally play against. It’s an opportunity for our young lads to play on other clubs’ main pitches, which I think is important in their development.”

Argyle did not make it past the first stage 12 months ago, losing a mini Dockyard Derby 4-0 at Home Park to Wednesday’s opponents - and fellow Football League Youth Alliance South West side - Portsmouth.

Kevin said: “It’s a repeat of last year in some respects – we’re playing Portsmouth, at home, which I feel is an advantage, and we have played them already this year and beaten them 2-1, as we did last year.

“This is a cup game and it’s about the team that turns up and produces the performance on the night. I am just hoping we will be bold, take on the challenge, and put in a good performance.”

Wednesday’s match kicks off at 7pm, and admission, by ticket or on the gate, is £4 for adults and £2 for concessions.

Argyle (from): Alex Battle, Jordan Bentley, Jack Calver, Michael Cooper (gk), Alex Fletcher, Cory Harvey (gk), Liam Knowles, Connor McAuley, Billy Palfrey, Joshua Richards, Jamil Roberts, Daniel Rooney, Callum Rose, Sam Ryan, Aaron Taylor, Jason Vincent.