AFC Wimbledon will be aiming to emulate last season’s FA Youth Cup achievements against Hull City on Tuesday night (7.00 pm kick-off) and manager Mark Robinson wants our young talents to express themselves on the big stage.
Up for grabs is a place in the last-16 of the national competition and it offers an opportunity for supporters to watch potential first-teamers of the future.
Speaking during an interview which can be viewed on our official You Tube channel via the link above, Mark said: “The lads who did not get professional contracts last season enjoyed that run and the experiences will stay with them forever, but the ultimate goal is for the manager to sit in the stands on Tuesday and see players who are worth pro contracts. That’s always the goal and it’s why we have to play with flair and excitement.
“Of course we want to win and it’s great for the club if we win, but we want the manager to see players who in two or three years could potentially be running out for his first-team. We will be organised and try to win the game, but at the same time we let the players express themselves to see what they are about.
“If we could get a good crowd it would be fantastic. It is so important for the development of the players. It drives them on and gives us a bigger chance of winning. I had a lot of fans coming up to me after the North Greenford and Bristol Rovers games; they were saying how much they enjoyed it and asking about certain players. I see no reason why we cannot do it again.”
Mark believes that victory in the last round at Huddersfield really provided belief among the squad about what they could achieve.
“It has been a confidence thing and that has been growing,” added Mark. “I always knew that it would because they are a talented group. In the first-half at Huddersfield we played a little bit within ourselves. Whether that was because of the journey or not, I don’t know, but in the second-half we went for them and showed what we were about. The boys gained confidence from that.
“We left the Cherry Red Records Stadium at a quarter to eight in the morning so a lot of the boys had been up since 6 am. To do that journey and come away with a result was fantastic. I am big on mentality. We are what we are and we’ve not got the budget to be staying over all of the time. The fact that the boys prepared so well and got the result made me really proud of them.
“The fact we are in the last-32 is a great achievement already and to get to the last-16 again would be fantastic. I don’t know if any other League 1 or League 2 teams have done that two years on the trot, but if so, it has to be rare. We are all really excited and looking forward to it.”
Entry prices are £5 for adults and free for Under-18s at tomorrow night’s game. The bar will be open from 5.30 pm and the club shop from 6.00 pm.