FA Youth Cup R3 Match Preview | Crewe Alexandra vs. Cardiff City
Cardiff City’s U18 side begin their FA Youth Cup campaign on Tuesday evening (20/12) at the Mornflake Stadium in a Third Round clash with Crewe Alexandra – 7pm kick-off.
The young Bluebirds come into this fixture, originally scheduled for last Tuesday, in fine form, despite a lack of recent competitive games due to a string of fixture postponements.
The youngsters are unbeaten since October 15th, a run of five matches which includes impressive wins in the Severnside derby and a 4-1 victory over Millwall which moved Steve Jenkins' side to the top of their Professional Development League group.
Three weeks ago, a brace from 16-year-old Gabriele Biancheri secured a 2-0 win against Bristol City which helped City to stay a point clear of Millwall, with two games in hand.
The Bluebirds will be looking to go one better than last year with a win over the Alex, after a Third Round defeat to a strong Watford team in the 2021/22 competition. A win on Tuesday night will secure a Fourth Round tie against either Exeter City or Oxford United.
Crewe Alexandra entered the competition in the First Round, overcoming Mansfield Town with a dramatic extra-time victory. They then went on to defeat Grimsby Town to earn a tie with the Bluebirds.
In PDL action, Crewe’s youngsters sit bottom of the North group this season with nine points from their 10 games, including two wins.
With a goal difference of just just -4, most of their matches have been tight contests. Alex have also progressed through the PDL cup group stages.
With Crewe having already played one FA Youth Cup game at the Mornflake Stadium, City’s youngsters will be look forwarding to their first experience of a professional stadium setting in their 2022/23 campaign.
Speaking ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Jenkins said: "It’s disappointing to have had our games against Sheffield Wednesday and Reading postponed. That being said, it’s been a good week, we’re in a good place and we’re confident.
"We will go with what we think is as strong as we can, but it’s a really competitive squad now with everyone pretty much back to full fitness, bar a few small niggles.
"We’re really excited and we’re ambitious to do well. It only comes around once a year, so we want to make the most of it. We’re ambitious to have a good Cup run, because it’s exciting for the boys too, and that brings added pressure but we’re confident and want to do well.
In Crewe Alexandra, City are up against fellow PDL opposition, with the Alex competing in the North group of the competition.
Jenkins continued, "Obviously, it helps we’ll know a bit about them so there’s that familiarity. But, it’s the same for us - they’ll know exactly what they’re up against and we have to be ready to go.
"We can’t be disrespectful; Crewe are a good team and we’re going to need a good performance to beat them.’’
Commenting on the fine recent form of young forward Biancheri, Steve added: ‘’There’s a long way to go with him being only 16, but he’s been fantastic stepping up.
"Goals are brilliant for him, and his two against Bristol City to win us the game earned that call up to the U21s, and when he had his 45 minutes for them I was really impressed."