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Preview: FA Youth Cup

You can watch the cup tie on Blues' Facebook page, we will be live from 6.45pm.

BCFC

Blues Under-18s begin their 2021 FA Youth Cup campaign in the third round as they face Manchester City on Friday evening.

Travelling to the North West, Paul Harsley’s side will come up against the current holders at the Academy Stadium in a 7pm kick-off.

The fixture is one that looked in doubt when the competition was suspended just days before the tie was initially scheduled to be played, with it being of great relief and excitement that the tournament has been given the green light to resume.

Currently leading the way in the U18 Professional Development League North, victory over City - where Harsley worked before joining Blues - would set up a home tie against either Wigan Athletic or Everton in the fourth round.

In last year’s competition, Blues made it to the fifth round before being knocked out by the Latics away from home and the Club’s most impressive recent showing saw them reach the last four in 2018. On that occasion, they bowed out against eventual winners Chelsea.

THE OPPOSITION: 

Amongst the favourites to lift the trophy, defending Champions Manchester City pose one of the toughest tests Blues could have faced in the competition.  

The Citizens are looking impressive this term and lead the way in the Under 18 Premier League North, recording four victories in their last five matches. This includes scoring 17 times in their past four outings, with their most recent game seeing them beat Stoke City 5-0 on Tuesday.

Against the Potters came another goal for top-scorer Tai Sodje. The Sheffield-born forward, who can also operate on either flank, has found the net on 17 occasions this season. Notably, three of these came as the 17-year-old hit a hat-trick away to Liverpool in October.

City’s youngsters are led by head coach Carlos Vicens. Previously working as assistant to Gareth Taylor, the Spaniard stepped up to manage the team after his former boss made the switch to take over the Women’s senior side. He joined the club back in 2017 and initially worked with the under 12s and 13s before supporting the under 18s for the past two-and-a-half years.

He was in charge when they beat Chelsea 3-2 to lift the FA Youth Cup at St. George’s Park in November.

LAST TIME OUT: 

Blues tasted success on their most recent outing as they overcame a physical Nottingham Forest side in the league. Winning 3-1 away from home, Harsley’s team came from behind to overcome the Reds. After equalising through George Hall in the 29th minute, Kieran Wakefield's impressive effort put Blues ahead going into the break. It was then Hall with his second that wrapped up the three points and put the gloss on a commanding performance in the East Midlands.

Meanwhile, Manchester City were resounding winners as they beat Stoke City on Tuesday afternoon. Oscar Bobb struck twice inside the first 12 minutes, before Sodje and Micah Hamilton extended their advantage before the break. With the game wrapped up by half-time, there was just one further goal after the interval which came five minutes from the end through Adedire Mebude.

MATCH OFFICIALS: 

Referee: Barry Lamb

Assistant Referee: Joe Cunningham and Daniel Barclay

Fourth Official: Tom O’Brien

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