U18S | Anthony Hayes looks ahead to Youth Cup clash

U18s Manager Anthony Hayes Previews Charlton’s FA Youth Cup Tie with Sheffield United

Charlton U18s host Sheffield United in the third round of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night (7pm), and manager Anthony Hayes revealed confidence is sky-high among his group, who are relishing the challenge.

The young Addicks have been in blistering form since the turn of the year, winning five of their last six in the league - with 20 goals in the process - and come into the tie on the back of an emphatic 8-1 victory at Swansea City last weekend. 

“It was a convincing display,” said Hayes.

“I thought we dominated the game from start to finish and we showed a ruthless streak which was pleasing to see. Our form in the league has obviously taken a bit of an upturn which is nice.

“I think it’s important we can have a goal threat not just from the forward players, but also from the midfield players, central midfield players, and even full-backs as well. We have a goal threat in numerous playing positions and we’ve been enforcing it.

“We’re playing some attractive football, we’re winning games in style, and the confidence and enthusiasm amongst the players for this game is extremely high. They are looking forward to it, they really are.”

Hayes was full of praise for Sheffield United’s U18s side, who have been managed by his fellow Irishman Derek Geary since 2016.

“They are a very, very good academy with a history of producing players, not only for their own first team but for the highest levels in this country. We know that there is going to be a very talented group of players playing a game of football. They’ll have their style and way of playing, and we’ll have ours. We’ll be going there trying to impose our style. 

“I mentioned their style; they have got a style that is unique to their academy, they are a workmanlike club so they are very honest, they are well-organised and well-coached - that was evident when we played them, not only this season, but in season’s gone by as well.”

Charlton’s cup run began with a 5-0 win against Winslow United, which was followed by a thrilling penalty shootout victory over Gillingham and, while the chances of history repeating itself are incredibly slim, the Addicks coach admits it stands his side in good stead.

“I don’t think you can quite prepare yourself for what Gillingham posed - I think it was 10 penalties each! But it adds to the experience that the players can draw on; we learned so much from that game. It was a really difficult tie, it went the full distance. In penalties, the players showed a bit of character and resilience, and they put the ball in the back of the net so we may need to rely on that tomorrow night, you never know!

“We are expecting a really tough contest, but our lads are going into the game with a lot of confidence. We are playing with a lot of freedom, the players are enjoying their football, and they will be relishing the challenge.”

Supporters can watch the young Addicks take on Sheffield United in the third round of the FA Youth Cup live on the club's official YouTube channel on Wednesday evening.

(Article by James Waller)

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