Mark Robinson wants his class of 2018 to live up to our Academy’s previous high standards, as they set out on their FA Youth Cup campaign tomorrow night.
Our Academy Head of Football (pictured with defenders Huseyin Biler and Paul Osew) was speaking ahead of the first round proper tie against Gillingham, being staged at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Thursday with kick-off at 7.30 pm.
“We want to build a reputation in this competition and that’s what we plan to do,” said Mark. “It’s a competition we want to do well in.
“Over the last few years we’ve got a record we’re very proud of. We’ve done better in the last few years than Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton, Southampton and local clubs Crystal Palace and Charlton and we’re very proud of that.
You can see the full interview with Mark Robinson below, via the link to our official YouTube channel.
Wimbledon's youngsters have twice reached the last sixteen of the national competition in recent seasons, but on this occasion they most overcome opposition from Kent if they are to advance to round two.
“The players are in confident mood and they should be,” said Mark. “They know we’ve got a reputation in the competition now and that’s a good thing. They need to live up to those expectations – I want people to have those expectations of us and hopefully they will go out and put in a performance."
The young Dons go into the game off the back of a victory against their opponents last Saturday morning. Wimbledon fought back to win 4-3 away to Gillingham in the Youth Alliance. Mark will also have a near full strength squad to choose from, with the exception of Welsh under-17 international defender Jack Madelin.
“I don’t think Saturday’s win will have much relevance to this game,” said Mark. “We had a very different side out to what will be out tomorrow night. It was good to comeback, but we’ll have things that we’ll do differently and I’m sure they will.
“It’s the biggest cup competition for youth players, where everyone takes it really seriously and wants to do really well and we’re no different. It’s very different to the league. We set up to win in every single game we play, but in our league programme it’s very much about development. When it comes to the FA Youth Cup it’s different. It’s the only game where we will actually do work on the opposition.
“The fans have always been brilliant and supported us in this competition, away from home at places like Watford and Newcastle in particular. For the fans to come down and for the boys to feel that pressure is so key to their development. We like to put them in situations where they need to perform. We’re certainly not risk adverse in the way we play, so it’s really important that they can go and put on that style of play in front of a crowd. The more people there, the better."
Ticket prices are £5 for adults with Under-18s admitted free of charge. The Your Golf Travel Bar (middle bar) will be open from 6pm on Thursday.