Under-18s Manager Rob Tuvey is hoping that the special bond that exists between supporters and his players can help Wimbledon achieve more FA Youth Cup success this season.
Rob was part of Mark Robinson’s coaching staff that caused cup upsets at both Watford and Newcastle United a few years ago. Having taken over the reins of the Dons Youth side this summer he’s aiming to avoid being on the receiving end of a cup shock, on this occasion at Hanworth Villa in the second round on Monday night.
“For the boys to play in front of the fans is so important,” said Rob. “After the last round it was really good to walk into the main bar after and see the boys mixing in with the fans and talking to them. They really understood after what it meant to our fans.
“That’s what this club is built on. It’s always been built on producing its own players and making sure that we get a home-grown eleven out there one day. That’s our dream and these boys really know what it means to play for Wimbledon. I install it in them every day.
“I listened to Glyn (Hodges) after the Leasing.com Trophy game at Southend. He’s played for the club and he’s talking about home-grown players and what it means to the fans. We know these boys want to see fans there and play for them. To have them there on the night is so important.
“It’s a privilege for us to wear that yellow and blue and to see them there, hopefully cheering us on to a win.”
The prize is a trip to Sheffield United in the third round, but Rob (pictured with midfielder Elliott Bolton) is both respectful and fully focused on a tricky away tie at the start of next week.
“We know Nigel James, their manager, quite well,” said Rob. “He’s worked with Jack Rudoni previously and a few others and he’s a good friend of the Academy. It’ll be good to play against him and I’m sure he’ll know a lot about our boys. We like to think we’ve done our homework on them and know a lot about them.”
Rob is very aware of the threat the young Dons face, even despite having disposed of Leyton Orient 5-0 at the Cherry Red Records Stadium. Hanworth Villa won 3-2 at Glliingham in the first round, and it was the Gills who ended our hopes of progress in last season’s FA Youth Cup.
“Me and Mark Robinson went and watched Hanworth at Gliingham in the last round,” said Rob. “They really are a good side. They played really well on the night. You can’t underestimate anyone, but we’ll go there with a game plan and make sure that we see it through.”
Your support will be very much appreciated at Rectory Meadow on Monday night.
Entry prices are as follows:
The address for the venue on Monday: Rectory Meadow, Park Road (off Hounslow Road), Hanworth, Middlesex,TW13 6PN.
Watch the full interview with AFC Wimbledon Under-18s Manager Rob Tuvey below, via the link to our official YouTube channel.