Bury U18 v Aston Villa U18 – Energy Check Stadium at Gigg Lane, Monday 22nd January 2018 – 7pm KO. Tickets are £5 for adults, £2 for concessions – come and give the lads your support!
Ryan Kidd’s Youth Team face Aston Villa at the Energy Check Stadium at Gigg Lane this evening in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.
The young Shakers have been drawn away in all the previous rounds and will now be looking to showcase their talents to the Bury fans under the lights.
The journey started with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Oldham at Boundary Park, with goals from Callum Hulme, Cameron Hill and Rob Harker.
Wigan Athletic were next up, with the game being played in Leyland at the headquarters of the Lancashire FA. The Latics went into the game on the back of 8 straight victories, but it was Bury who took the initiative from the start with Saul Shotton putting them ahead within 4 minutes. Wealth DaSilva doubled the lead halfway through the half with a superb individual strike after he had won the ball back in his own half, and Callum Hulme fired home a third from the penalty spot in the second half. Wigan pulled one back but it was nothing more than a consolation as the Shakers deservedly left with the victory.
It was a long trip to Cheltenham Town in the third round, and Bury were soon ahead. Rob Harker headed home Wealth DaSilva’s cross to give the Shakers an 11th minute lead. Chances to double the lead came and went and the Robins equalised with just over an hour played. This didn’t seem to affect Bury though, as almost instantly they were back in front. A free-kick played deep into the area was turned home by Callum Styles, and that was enough to ensure that Bury were into the last 32 of the competition for 52 years.
Kidd knows his side face a tough test, but also has faith in his own team: “They’ll be able to pick lads probably from abroad, I think they’ve got a couple of Internationals in the squad as well. Their budgets miles bigger than ours but I believe we’ve got a very good team, I think it should be a good game. I’m hoping the lads can produce their best performance really on the night and see how we go”.
Youth Team Captain, Ryan Cooney was also confident in the team’s ability: “It’ll be a tough test for us. This season we’ve played some good teams like Wigan and Oldham, and then went and beat Cheltenham away and it’ll be good to play at home. We do play some good stuff, it’s good to showcase what we can do, against some good teams. Aston Villa aren’t a bad side, they’re a very good team but if we play our normal football, I think we can do well against them”.
Saturday’s game against Rochdale in the Youth Alliance Cup saw a much younger side take to the field, as the U18’s were saved for tonight’s clash v Aston Villa. Out of the 11 that took on an established Rochdale U18’s team, 9 of them were 14 and 15-year-olds – with a 13-year-old making his debut from the bench!
Academy Manager Mark Litherland was full of praise for the young Shakers – “I’m absolutely delighted with the lads. We fielded an extremely young side – at one point we had a 13-year-old going up against 18-year-olds! I’m very happy with the performance, and although we lost the game we created chances of our own and the experience for them playing this match will be beneficial in the long term. The future’s bright at Bury and there are exciting times ahead!”.
Mark also confirmed that the whole Academy will be at the game tonight supporting the lads, and is awaiting the result of the latest EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) audit: “We’ve just had our latest audit which determines our category status for the Academy. I’ll be going to London in May to get the results and we’re expecting to maintain our ranking as a Category Three Academy”.
Aston Villa won’t be pushovers. They are a Category One side (the highest status available for Academies) and are currently 9th in a League that also includes Academy sides from Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. Their last match saw them draw 2-2 away at Chelsea.
The Villans overcame Coventry City 2-1 in the third round at Villa Park and will be looking to progress to the fourth round themselves.
The fifth round draw has been made and the winner of this game will have a home tie against Birmingham City, who beat Sheffield United 1-0 last Tuesday.
Come and support your Bury FC Youth Team as they continue their Cup run! It’s the first time they’ve been this far in the competition since 1966 so come and see the next generation and give them your backing!