Let Them Lead the Way

ARGYLE first-team manager Derek Adams believes the Argyle Under 18s FA Youth Cup Fourth Round tie against Burnley is as close to playing a first team match as possible.

The young Pilgrims play at Turf Moor on Friday night after claiming a giant killing against Manchester City in the previous round. Derek, Academy Director Kevin Hodges and the club are trying to mimic how the first team would travel for their matches, and use that to help the Under-18s. 

“They have got a good opportunity, they won against Man City at home,” said Derek. “They defended very well and had a couple of opportunities to win it, but got through on penalties in the end.

“They are training today (Thursday) and going up this afternoon, we are giving them the first-team bus to travel up in. We have told them which hotel to stay in – which is a nice one, about 25 minutes from Burnley. 

“They will treat it as an important fixture, and treat it like a first-team fixture. They’ve got a good bit of hospitality to be ready for the game. They are getting that experience of being a first-team player. Going up on the bus, staying in the hotel and playing at Turf Moor underneath the lights against Premier League opposition.” 

This season has proved a positive one for the the Argyle Academy in more than one aspect, with the current success in the FA Youth cup is the highlight. Adams was quick to mention the success of recent academy products as well as the current apprentices. 

‘We would all like them to get into the first team right away but it’s not always possible. But, we have had Alex Fletcher, Jordan Bentley, Michael Cooper, Cameron Sangster have all come up. So we have had a blend of them that have had that first team experience.” 

This weekend will be a hectic one for young apprentice goalkeeper Michael Cooper as Derek has said it is his intention to involve Mike in the first-team squad for their match against Bury on Saturday.

“He will play Friday night,” said Derek, “then travel back in the early hours of the morning and be on the bench Saturday. I have to allow the youth team to have him tomorrow night as it is an important fixture, and they will allow him to be with us.”