Youth Cup Action

Thursday 8 December 2005

The potential Fulham stars of the future will take to the pitch at the Riverside Stadium on Thursday evening as the Whites take on Middlesbrough in the Third Round of the FA Youth Cup. It certainly looks set to be a tough opening fixture as Boro won the Youth Cup two seasons ago, knocking Fulham out along the way, and have a solid record at youth level.

However, Fulham will also be going into the encounter with a strong side. One that, in recent weeks, has recorded a number of impressive results as Fulham Under-18 Coach and Assistant Academy Manager, Paul Clement explained.

"We're a young team this time round," he told fulhamfc.com. "We've got lots of first year scholars who are new to the Club but, having said that, they're all talented players.

"We're coming off the back of some good performances at Youth level and confidence is high. We played West Ham away last week, who are currently second in the league, and beat them. The week before we beat Ipswich, who won the Youth Cup last year. As long as we perform and the lads do their jobs - we'll have a good chance.

"It was particularly strong year for Middlesbrough two years ago and since then we've seen some of the players from that particular team go on to play in their first team. This year we're expecting a difficult tie, we're hoping that they're not going to be as strong as they were two years ago. But from our own point of view, we think we've got a good set of players.

"If we play to out strengths we'll have a good chance. We've got two players in the side who were involved in that game two years ago. Aouled Miguil and Adam Watts were both in that side as schoolboys, so they've got experience of playing up there.

"The Youth Cup is special. We'll try and take as much pressure off the boys as possible and treat it like any game we play. But it is different, they're playing in stadiums and there's a great tradition in the Youth Cup. Hopefully the nerves won't get to us too much and we'll be able to perform like we have been doing on Saturday mornings."