Oxford United’s under 18s head for Burnley this evening in the third round of the FA Youth Cup.
United are at full strength other than central defender Viktor Milton, who damaged knee ligaments in the last round when United beat Barnet.
The U’s won 5-3 at Newport County on Saturday to stay six points clear at the top of the EFL Youth Alliance South West Division with four games left to play, with Slavi Spasov scoring his 20th of the season and Owen James also scoring after impressing when on under-23 duty against Wolves earlier in the week.
Left-back Michael Elechi agreed his first pro contract yesterday, with right-back Kyran Lofthouse also signing a similar deal last week.
United are managed by Leon Blackmore-Such and Chris Hackett and Leon told us:
“We are looking forward to it. We are playing a Premier League side, one with a fantastic record of developing young players, and it is on a Premier League ground, so it is a massive test for us. But that’s what we want: an opportunity to test ourselves and for the lads to go out there without any real pressure and show everyone just how good they all are.
“I am so proud of this team and we are in really good form right now. All we can do is give them the platform to go out there, play to the best of their abilities, and see if we can pull off a cup upset.”
Burnley coach John Townson will be in charge for the last time: Tony Philliskirk will take over the role from New Year. The Clarets are in good form themselves after a 3-1 win over Hull City at the weekend and Townson believes his side will be up for the cup:
"The mood is good, the lads are excited for the match and training has reflected that, where the lads have been sharp. Some of them have done it before and of course for others it will be a first.
"As much as we are telling them it's just another game, the pitch is the same, we know for some of them, rightly or wrongly, they with have an edge to their game. I just want the players to enjoy it, work hard and look to put in a solid good performance.”
The match kicks off at 7:00pm at Turf Moor.
Admission is £4 (adults), £2 (concessions) and £1 for season ticket holders of both clubs.
We will have updates on Twitter at @OUFCOfficial throughout the game, with a match report on this site on the final whistle.
We will also have video reaction from the United dressing room in iFollow, where you can prepare for the game with a full Preview Show which has Leon’s thoughts as well as a highly entertaining edition of Team Mates featuring the whole squad