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Foyle: "We must approach the game in the right manner"

Imps Under 18 vs. Aylestone Park: FA Youth Cup Preview

2 November 2021

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Coach Ash Foyle says the Imps' U18 squad are looking forward to their FA Youth Cup first-round trip to Aylestone Park on Wednesday (7.45pm)

Having already beaten Notts County to progress to the first round of the competition for the first time, the home side provide an interesting test for Foyle’s young team who will be hoping to build upon last year’s strong run in the competition.

Despite his side's position as favourites in the tie, Foyle is wary of taking anything for granted.

He said: “Competitions such as this have a way of punishing teams who do not approach games in the right manner, and we are very aware of that. Our opposition are in this round for a reason and have beaten the likes of Notts County to get here so will certainly pose us a threat if we are not totally tuned in on the night. It’s up to us to put in the performance level required to get the goals we will need to win the game and ensure we do everything possible to limit their chances in front of goal and keep a clean sheet.

“The lads are really looking forward to the game. It’s a competition we have had some success in during previous seasons and this group of players are capable of having a good run if we apply ourselves properly. There’s a lot more impetus put on the Youth Cup then our normal games programme which is more development based so cranks up the pressure in a healthy way”

Foyle’s squad will be bolstered by Hayden Cann, Freddie Draper and Jovon Makama for the competition, with the latter two adding to an already strong squad who beat Rotherham 5-1 in the league last time out.

Foyle added: “We are fortunate enough for the first time this season to have almost a fully fit squad. We spend most of our programme being quite young with a number of the second years having been with the first team, at Gainsborough Trinity or out through injury, so we would like to think we have the strongest possible squad available which is really exciting.

"We have some excellent players and a number having played a big part in last season’s run so would like to think the experience will help them deal with the pressures that come with a difficult tie like this one”

The FA Youth Cup is one of the most prestigious tournaments in youth football, with clubs traditionally playing strong sides and games taking place in the first-team's stadiums.

Foyle added: “The Youth Cup is the competition where we select a team to win a game and try to ensure the players warrant their selection, which has been really difficult this time around due to the number of players fit, available and in good form.

"We try to prepare as a first-team would with some extra emphasis on team shape, set pieces and opposition analysis. We are trying to expose the lads to the type of football and environment that they are hoping to be a part of later in their careers, which means they have to experience the expectation and pressure of results-based football.

"As most clubs do, we use this competition as the highest possible challenge for our players in terms of pressure to go and find a way to win a game of football, so it is a great opportunity for the players to show what they are capable of in a pressurised environment and for us as staff to learn more about the players' characters.

"It gives the players an opportunity to play in front of crowds and against opposition from outside of our games programme. Fingers crossed this can be the first of many games in the competition but as we know occasions like this don’t always go the way you hope so it’s important that everyone approaches the game in the right manner.”

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