It's that time of year again when AFC Wimbledon's youngsters look to make their mark in a national competition – and Mark Robinson has challenged this season's squad to maintain the progress shown recently.
The young Dons are at Marlow tonight (7.45 pm kick-off) and they will be aiming to build on their recent improvement, following a testing start to the current campaign.
Academy Head of Football Mark Robinson said: "We don't talk about the FA Youth Cup until it comes around. We always start the season a bit slowly because the boys are getting used to a full-time environment, but in the last four weeks – up until the Gillingham game on Saturday – we have looked much better. We were on a decent little run and playing some better football. On Saturday I was really pleased, despite us losing. We put out a young side because quite a few of them had played against MK in the development match. That had involved a lot of work without the ball because MK had a senior side out.
"We did not want to over-do it so we went with a young side including U-16s and U-15s. We played really well, but they (Gillingham) just got into our faces in the second-half. That was when we lost our way a little bit. Even then, there were pleasing signs, so I would have no problem stepping up the U-16s tonight if need be. They are definitely getting better and they are growing up. In their attitudes, they are understanding what is needed and what the demands are. There are definitely promising signs and they need to take that into tonight's game. We don't underestimate anyone we play and that goes for Marlow tonight.
"Anthony Hartigan struggled in his first eight or nine games, he was nowhere near where we wanted him to be. They all struggle a little bit to start with. I am doing more work now with Rob Tuvey, our U-15s/U-16s manager. It's difficult because the boys are not full-time, but we are trying to get things in place so that it's not such a big step up. Rob has been fantastic, he is putting things in place so that in terms of intensity and the demands, it's not such a big gap. That's showing already as we've had numerous boys from U-15s and U-16s who have stepped up and they are doing really well. We want to keep that going."
Entry prices for tonight's game at Marlow are £5 for adults and £2 concessions. The full address for the Alfred Davis Memorial Ground is as follows: Oak Tree Road, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 3ED. If you can't make the game, look out for updates on our official Twitter account.
To watch a full interview with Mark ahead of the game, click on the link below: