Basford United Academy manager Josh Law says his side can take inspiration from last year when they take on Doncaster Rovers in the FA Youth Cup first round at Greenwich Avenue on Friday night.
United’s scholars memorably reached the third round of last season’s competition as the lowest ranked side remaining, eventually losing to West Bromwich Albion after beating the likes of Port Vale and Grimsby Town.
“They proved they can go toe-to-toe and beat Football League academies last year so they can certainly take a lot from that,” Law – who reached the third round twice as a player during his time at Chesterfield – said.
“The nucleus of that side is still with us – they are a year older, stronger and have experience of these nights under their belts already, so there’s no reason why can’t win this and go on another brilliant run.
“We can’t look past the tie against Doncaster, and we will go in as underdogs – as we did against Vale, Grimsby and West Brom – but I think that suits the boys just fine.
“Win, lose, or draw, Doncaster will know they’ve been in a game if we perform like I know the lads can.”
This will be United’s fifth tie of the competition to date, whilst it’ll be Gary McSheffery’s Rovers’ first outing.
Wins over Kimberley, Deeping Rangers, St. Andrews, and Halesowen Town have led United to this stage and, should they prevail, they will advance to the second round again – an outstanding feat for an academy only formed in 2013.
Law, however, is under no illusions and understands the magnitude of the task ahead.
“I’ve watched three or four Doncaster games so far on video and also went to their fixture with Rotherham United,” the former Motherwell midfielder said.
“They’re a very good club and academy who will be well organised, play with high energy and will be adaptable with different systems – it’ll be a tough game, for sure.
“I think they’ll come here and play under the guidance of some very experienced coaches.
“The game I saw was made quite direct by Rotherham and it was a battle. They stood up to that and managed to play some nice stuff at times.
“We can’t be slow and predictable when we do get the ball. They press high, aggressively and we need to assess what way we try and go through them.
“We’ve worked on many different scenarios this week to try and identified where we can get joy but, make no mistakes about it, they’re a tough side; organised with a high work ethic and some very athletic players.”
Despite the gulf between the National League U19 alliance and the EFL Youth Alliance (North East) – where Rovers currently sit 7th – Law said his side will be raring to go.
“They’re ready to go and do themselves justice – nothing fazes them, and they have shown throughout youth level, including those boys who have made debuts with the first team.
“The lads’ work rate and desire in training allows them to let go and express themselves on a match day.
“We’re all looking forward to another huge occasion for the club that, whatever the outcome, we can again look back on with pride.”
Tickets for the game are still available and can be purchased HERE.
*Article provided by Marc Williams (Basford United Correspondent).
*Main image @Papapix Basford U18’s coach Josh Law is looking forward to the tie v Doncaster.