Shrewsbury Town set to take on Premier League side Sunderland in the Fourth RoundShrewsbury Town’s U18 squad face a huge test this week, as they travel to the North East to take on Sunderland in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.
It is the first time that the youth team have drawn a current Premier League side in the cup since the 2009/10 season, where Town bowed out after a 2-1 defeat to Hull City in the third round.
Given that Town have exceeded the achievement of that season, and that they have ended a run of five second round defeats in six years, there is already reason for this season to be looked upon with great pride.
Academy manager Andy Jones believes that the game will be a fantastic moment in the careers of the young players, and is sure that the club has got the squad well prepared for the challenge.
“It was a good draw for us, we’re going to go over the video of the Sunderland games to get the lads prepared and it’s a great occasion for them.
“It’s probably the biggest game of their careers, and to get into the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup is a great achievement.”
Jones recognizes the level of quality that Town will be facing at the Eppleton CW Ground on Wednesday and he underlined how impressive a victory would be to the club.
“To get into the fifth round would be even better but we’ll take one game at a time and we’ll be confident but we appreciate how difficult it will be up at Sunderland.”
The youth team has struggled at times in the league this season, but their cup campaign has given cause for optimism in recent months.
As well as this, Jones explains that their league position does not reflect the overall quality of their performances.
“Results wise it hasn’t been as good as we would have liked, but it’s not all about results, it’s about the development of the boys.
“But we’ve been happy with the way the lads have been playing for the majority of the season and I think it’s come into fruition over the past few weeks where we’ve kicked on and got a little bit of form.”
Shrewsbury Town's First Team Manager Paul Hurst is pleased with how the lads have got on so far in the competition and is wishing them the best of luck.
“They’ve done very well to get to this point and they’ve got a good draw,” he said.
“We know it’s going to be extremely difficult for them but hopefully they can perform and don’t be intimidated.
“This competition is important and we want those players to give the club the best chance of getting through.”
The fourth round tie vs. Sunderland takes place at Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground, also known as the Hetton Centre, on Wednesday 11th January at 7pm.
Tickets are £3 for Adults and £1 for concessions and can be purchased on the day.