FA Youth Cup Preview | Argyle v Cheltenham Town
Argyle’s Academy side get their FA Youth Cup campaign under way at Home Park on Wednesday, against Cheltenham Town.
The match will be played at Home Park and kicks off at 7pm. Tickets are £5 for adults, £3 for season-ticket holders and concessions.
The Young Pilgrims played Cheltenham earlier this season, in league action, and won 4-2 thanks to two goals from Will Jenkins Davies, and one each from Joe Hatch and Cole Gibbings.
Last season, Argyle beat Mangotsfield and MK Dons before bowing out in round three against Brighton and Hove Albion.
“It’s a competition that creates fantastic memories for players, parents, staff,” said manager Darren Way. “It’s a game that we’ve all been looking forward to. Normally your first game is your toughest game. We’ve got to make sure we prepare well.
“We played them earlier on in the season. They are technically a very good team. They try to get the ball down and play in the right areas. They will try to build through the thirds. They are always competitive. They always put up a good fight. We’ve got to make sure that, on a good pitch, we get the ball down and do what we are good at. We want all our individuals to express themselves.
“The players know how important the FA Youth Cup is. They know that the longer they are in it, it makes the season successful. They will be doing everything they can to make sure we get a win.
“It’s a thing that doesn’t happen that often. We’ve got to make sure that as a team, collectively, we manage the game itself and not get too carried away with the environment with families turning up, and that added pressure.
“It is a great occasion, and where the football club is at the moment, with the momentum and the stadium itself, it is a great arena to come to watch a game of football. We’ve got to make sure we get the performance levels right. It should be a good night for everyone involved.”
The game comes just two days after an epic encounter between Argyle’s first team and Exeter City in League One, in which Steven Schumacher’s team cemented their position on top of the table with a 4-2 victory over their local rivals, live on Sky Sports, in front of a full house at Home Park.
Included in the team were goalkeeper Michael Cooper and midfielder Adam Randell, both of whom are now regular first-team players, but not terribly long ago were finding their feet on the stage that the FA Youth Cup provides.
Way cited them, and games such as Monday’s, as the perfect encouragement for his current crop of youngsters.
“There’s two players that are in the arena at the moment that should be an unbelievable motivation to the rest of the players,” he said, “and that is Michael Cooper and Adam Randell. They are an absolute joy to watch, they are players that are very humble, hard-working and that should be the motivation for all our younger players to know that if they are good enough at this football club, the management team will give them the chance.
“It will be a fantastic occasion. The players witnessed the first team’s performance against Exeter, with a full capacity. It gives the players an ambition to want to play at Home Park, and the FA Youth Cup is a perfect opportunity for them to get that.”