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The youth team suffered their first defeat since the beginning of December last Saturday at Bolton but tonight it is back to cup action and only our second FA Youth Cup fifth round tie in the last eight seasons.

The youth team of 2011/12 reached the semi-finals, but since then it hasn’t proved to be a good competition for us. In the following year we beat Manchester United but then drew Manchester City in the next round and the only time since, until this season, that we’ve reached the fifth round was in 2014/15 when, having beaten Wimbledon and Cardiff, we went out at Nottingham Forest.

This season, we’ve won 5-0 at Curzon Ashton and 3-0 at Mansfield to line up this tie with West Brom who, coincidentally, were our fifth round opponents back in 2012 on that run to the semi-finals. Despite being massive underdogs that night, we won 2-1 at the Hawthorns with our goals coming from a Steven Hewitt penalty and Shay McCartan.

There is no doubt that tonight’s game is going to be a tougher assignment than we’ve faced in the previous two rounds against a Category 1 academy who have themselves reached this stage with wins against Scunthorpe and Middlesbrough.

Coach Tony Philliskirk admitted: “I think in the previous rounds we have been expected to go on and win, whereas this round, I think it’s fifty/fifty. You just never know what can happen. We will have to have absolutely everything right and prepare well and see what comes of it.”

Eight years ago, having beaten West Brom in the fifth round, we travelled to Fulham in the next round. Should we win tonight, Fulham could be our next opponents again. We’ve been drawn away against either Manchester City or Fulham.

Tonight’s game is being played at Curzon Ashton with a 7 p.m. kick off. Admission is £4 adults, £2 concessions.

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