Cardiff City Football Club’s U18 side take on English giants Liverpool Football Club in the FA Youth Cup Fourth Round on Wednesday, 27th January at Prenton Park (7pm kick-off).
The young Bluebirds comprehensively defeated Severnside rivals Bristol City in Round Three, with Jamie Bird, Lloyd Humphries (2) and Ibi So Sani netting as Matthew Bloxham and Jarred Harvey’s side soared through to set up this clash with the Reds.
Liverpool’s U18 side have enjoyed a strong 2015/16 campaign, sitting second in the U18 Premier League North table. The Reds’ squad, made up of youth internationals from around the world, defeated Ipswich Town, 2-1, in the last round.
Looking ahead to tonight’s clash, Bloxham and Harvey spoke of their preparations, expectations and excitement.
“We’re well aware of Liverpool’s strengths and weaknesses, and have studied how we can hurt them,” said Bloxham. “We are going to Prenton Park to play against a good side, but also to showcase our qualities and brand of football both in and out of possession. Liverpool have got a good history, and some fantastic players, but so have Cardiff City.
“Whoever our opposition is, the mentality of our players is professional. Of course being the home side, Liverpool will have more fans, friends and family in attendance, but we’ll ensure our players are properly prepared psychologically.
“It won’t be about the fans, or the occasion, it will be purely about the match and our players displaying what they can do.”
Harvey added: “We are playing against a team who are currently at a higher category in terms of Academy structure, but that being said, we won’t change the way we play. We’ve had to do a little bit more homework compared to the Bristol City match in the last round (City play against Bristol in the PDL2 league), and spent time focusing on how we will play without the ball. This will be an important feature, as Liverpool do have a number of internationally recognised talents. They are a top Premier League side, and it will be a different type of game to the last round, but we feel our preparation has been outstanding.
“Playing in the FA Youth Cup will spur on our players. Everyone involved in this match has aspirations to play professional football, and there is no better stage for the Cardiff City players to show what they can do at this time than the FA Youth Cup against a side like Liverpool.”
The winners of Wednesday’s Cup-tie will travel to Nottingham Forest in the Fifth Round.