FA Youth Cup Preview: Wanderers v Blackpool

Julian Darby training

Wanderers launch their FA Youth Cup challenge when they take on North-West rivals Blackpool tonight.

The young Whites face the Seasiders in a home first-round tie at Chorley’s Victory Park (kick-off 7pm).

Julian Darby’s side has played Blackpool twice already this season – knocking the Tangerines out of the Lancashire FA Youth Cup before conceding a late equaliser to draw 1-1 in the EFL Youth Alliance League last month.

However, Wanderers – who lost for just the third time this season to Shrewsbury Town last Saturday – are missing a number of players through illness and injury.

And Youth Team boss Julian Darby knows his side, which is likely to include a number of first-year scholars, will have to be at its best to repeat last season’s first-round win and progress at the expense of a Blackpool side entering the competition at this stage for the first time in three years and currently six points behind the fourth-placed Whites, with two games in hand, in the league table.

“It’s a different test. At this stage last year we had Wythenshawe who we overcame and everyone is just hoping to be in the hat for the next round again,” said Darby (above).

“We’re expecting a really hard game. Blackpool were the champions of our league last year and ran away with it in the end.

“They’re always a big, strong side and with second-year boys likely to be that bit more physically mature with a bit more know-how about them.

“But it will hopefully be a good game and will be a great test for lads and we’ll give it what we’ve got.

“It’s a different type of football you have to have. Rather than being based on development during the season, when you’re trying to develop the lads to move up the ladder, this is about winning and how they approach winning football.”

Tonight’s tie will be settled on the night with extra-time and penalties required. Admission is £3 for adults and £1 for under-18s and over-65s.

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