Clarke: 'This is a really good team to be around'

Jordan Clarke celebrates his goal.

We are buzzing for the Semi-Final. Everyone is excited. Everyone is ready to play against Chelsea.

Jordan Clarke

Jordan Clarke, one of Blues FA Youth Cup heroes, says the Under-18s cannot wait for their next test.

After reaching the competition Semi-Finals for the first time since 2009, Blues face Chelsea over two legs.

The first tie is to be played at St. Andrew's on a date to be confirmed, before Saturday, March 24.

Clarke and his team mates cannot wait, and the striker believes Blues togetherness is a big factor in their journey so far.

“We are buzzing for the Semi-Final. Everyone is excited. Everyone is ready to play against Chelsea.

“We played against them before last season so we know how they are.

“We have to work as a team, as usual, and we have to go into the Semi-Final thinking we can beat them. It’s not impossible.

“We will keep what we doing. Hopefully it will get us the right result.

“Most of the team have been together for a long time. We have a good morale around the dressing room.

“Steve Spooner and Karl Hooper have been excellent with us.

“We feel like a family, the way we work together in training and are off the field. It’s a really good team to be around.”

That was evident again in the Quarter-Final at Norwich City on Tuesday. Tommy Anderson and Clarke fired Blues in control with goals in a three-minute spell after the break.

Then schoolboy Josh Andrews smacked a belter into the top corner before Norwich got a late consolation as snow engulfed Carrow Road in the last 10 minutes.

Clarke's celerbration was rather odd: he ended up running, then hobbling, to the techncial area to be substituted immediately. Moments before his goal, he was struggling to move.

“I had a bit of a pain in my hamstring. I was running for the ball and felt a bit of a sharp pain.

“I carried on as we got a free-kick and Geraldo Bajrami got a good touch, knocked it down to Caolan Boyd-Munce and he gave the ball straight to me.

“I turned, it wasn’t the greatest shot with my left foot, it came loose again and I took it with my right – my weakest foot – but it was probably the best shot I’ve had with my right and it went in.

“I ran to celebrate and my hamstring was giving me problems. I didn’t really want to come off but I had to think about the whole team. I think I made the right choice as then (substitute) Josh Andrews scored.”

Blues, as they did in the Fifth Round on a difficult pitch at Bury and in the Third Round at Bristol City, started really impressively and kept the ball, moving it with skill and composure around the pitch to frustrate their hosts.

Clarke said: “The way we play suits us.

“We try to take the sting out of the game at first, if we’re away then that's the influence of the fans and the pressure of the other team as well. We have to take that out (of the equation) and play our type of football.

“We are taught that in training so we just try and put it into games as much as we can. People who have watched us can see we are possession-based, we pass the ball well in all areas and have got good movement in the team and it's difficult for the opposition to dominate."