Preview of cup game on Tuesday night
Mark Robinson believes he has a talented squad capable of going on another good FA Youth Cup run as the young Dons prepare to host North Greenford United tomorrow night (7.30 pm kick-off).
Last season’s superb run raised the profile of our academy and helped Under-18s Alfie Egan, Paul Kalambayi, Toby Sibbick, Toyosi Olusanya and Neset Bellikli secure professional contracts.
Though Mark Robinson is keen to look forward and focus on what this season’s crop could produce, he is aiming to instil the same mentality that swept the squad forward in 2015/16.
“It’s really important not to harp on too much about last year,” said Mark. “We always want to try and break new ground and we talk more about the mentality. It’s a problem the group has had, particularly earlier on this season. We’ve had really good progression to the development squad and I think that shows there is a lot of talent. When they go up to Alan Reeves’ squad they don’t have to be leaders, they just fit in and play.
“The likes of Reece Williams-Bowers, Judah Chapman and Nathan Wood perform well at that level because they are talented boys. They play with older lads including David Fitzpatrick, Paul Kalambayi and Toby Sibbick. I’ve said before that in this season’s group there is a lot of ability.
“Alan Reeves has been really pleased with Judah, young Anthony Hartigan is performing well, and Reece is playing consistently. Nathan Wood is capable of fantastic performances and so too Jayden Antwi. Full-back Tom Scott has played for me and the development squad quite regularly. There is a lot of talent in there. It’s just about them gelling together and understanding what I need from them, but the signs are good.
“We’ve emphasised about the mentality and the reasons why the team got better and better last season. We’ve talked about how we were able to go on that run. The signs are good because there’s definitely been a turnaround in the last few weeks with results and our mentality. We’ve got Toby and Paul back for the FA Youth Cup. We’ve not had them in a lot of league games, but I want to see the other players step-up and show leadership.”
Attempts by Mark and his assistant James Oliver-Pearce to watch North Greenford Under-18s did not work out due to circumstances, but he is respectful of opponents who reached the first round proper by beating Uxbridge 3-1.
channel, Mark called on Wimbledon supporters to get behind the boys tomorrow night, something which really helped last season.You TubeDuring the extensive interview for our official
“The whole of the cup run was fantastic, not just playing in front of 3,500 against Chelsea,” added Mark. “That was beyond what we could have imagined, but the support that we had up in Newcastle was equally as amazing. It was great for the boys to have that backing. We are obviously not expecting 3,500 to turn up on Tuesday, but even in front of 600 or 700 fans it’s just a great experience for the boys.
“They have to hold their nerve and perform to a game plan in a stadium and in front of fans. It would be great if some of our fans could come down and watch us.”
Cheer on our Under-18s against North Greenford United in the FA Youth Cup tomorrow night (7.30 pm kick-off). It will be £5 entry for adults and free for Under-18s to attend.