FA Youth Cup focus ahead of Newcastle United
Mark Robinson has urged AFC Wimbledon’s young talents to enjoy the big occasion at Newcastle United on Wednesday night.
The club’s academy head of coaching has been at Wimbledon for over a decade and he says that it’s a “dream” to be looking forward to an FA Youth Cup fourth round tie at St James’ Park.
Extensive interviews with Mark (centre), Jason Stripp (left) and Alfie Egan (right) are now on Dons Player.
Speaking during his interview for Dons Player, Mark said: “I love the challenge and everyone gets nervous. You would be lying if you said otherwise, but I am more nervous about the boys doing themselves justice. My nerves come from wanting them to show what they are capable of. I don’t want them to freeze and the rest of it is just excitement.
“It is what you dream about. I was talking to Jeremy Sauer (Academy Manager) the other day and saying that nine years ago we were playing on recreation grounds and putting on training sessions with just 20 yards of space to work in. Now we are doing this! We beat Watford at Vicarage Road and now we are going up to St James’ Park with the potential carrot of playing either Chelsea or Man United in the next round. It is something to be excited about, not nervous.
“We’ve done quite a lot of work on Newcastle. I have only been able to watch them once live, but I’ve watched a few DVDs. I have seen things I think we can do to nullify them and other stuff we can do to hurt them. At the same time I am always mindful of concentrating on what we do. In training sessions for this game I’ve tried to drip-feed through bits about them, rather than continuously talking about Newcastle. We need to get the blend right so that it’s about what we do. We can then take the nervousness away from our players.”
The Under-18s set out for Newcastle tomorrow morning and they will train at Middlesbrough FC’s training ground on the way up. Mark wished to thank the club for helping his squad prepare in the best possible way and fans for their support recently.
“The club have been great in helping us to prepare for the game,” added Mark. “We are travelling up tomorrow and the club booked Middlesbrough’s training ground for us. That means we will get a training session on an all-weather pitch for an hour and a half. That is fantastic for us. We will then go onto a hotel and be able to have team meetings to help us prepare.
“I was at the last first-team game and I have never in 10 years at the club had so many fans coming up to me. They congratulated me and showed a real interest in the team. Fans said they were impressed with how we played technically at Watford and it was a real good feel-factor. I really appreciated it.”
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The full interviews with Mark Robinson, Alfie Egan and Jason Stripp are all on Dons Player.