EDS & Academy

Wilkinson: Performance not revenge is key for City ahead of Brighton FA Youth Cup tie

Performance not revenge will be the motivating factor when City play host to Brighton in the FA Youth Cup fourth round on Tuesday night, says head coach Ben Wilkinson.

The two sides met at exactly the same stage of the competition last season with the Seagulls going on to edge a hard-fought contest 1-0 on the south coast.

It promises to be another tightly contested affair this time round against a talented Brighton squad with the Academy Stadium contest being screened live on CITY+ and Recast.

At both Under 18 and EDS level, City have made a fine start to 2023, winning all four of our respective league games since the start of the New Year.

And maintaining that level of consistency on Tuesday night is the key as far as Wilkinson is concerned rather than focusing on seeking to atone for last season’s Youth Cup disappointment.


“The lads will be very aware of what happened last year, but we have to put that game to bed and look to concentrate on what we do well and working as hard as we can,” the head coach stressed.

“The way the lads have come back after the Christmas break has been very pleasing. The level of performances have been good, and the attitude in training has been good.

“Both our Under-18s and EDS groups have had a good start and Tuesday’s team will be made up of elements of both teams so we’ve got to be really pleased with how we have come back.

“But as the EDS saw on Saturday, Brighton are always difficult to play against.

"They are a football club that are on the up, following in the footsteps of the first team and they are very progressive in the way they want to play, so we know it’s going to be a tough game.

"We know from last year what we will come up against, so we have to get ourselves ready physically.

“The FA Youth Cup is the flagship tournament in terms of Under-18 football.


“Most teams are of a similar mindset - it’s one everyone wants to do well in, and you don’t get many opportunities to play in it as a player so the motivation is always high in this competition.”

For the second successive round City - who beat Blackburn 3-0 in the third round – will have the benefit of home advantage.

And with the fifth-round draw having already been made, City have the added incentive of knowing that if we do progress on Tuesday, we would be at home again against either Middlesbrough or Fleetwood Town who meet on Wednesday.

“It seems to be the way that you know who you play beforehand, and we have the incentive of another home draw if we can get though,” the head coach added.

“But we know how difficult Tuesday will be, so we have to train all our concentration on that and just try and put in as good a performance as possible and for the players to show the best versions of themselves.

“If you look over the past four or five years, we have got a very strong record at home in terms of performances and results across all competitions.

“We know the quality of the pitches which is a big plus for us, so there is the familiarity as well as less travelling. Last year every cup game was away and a long one, so it’s a bonus for us to get a home draw.

“We know what a tough game it will be but it has been a good start for both groups. They have come back in a really good place so, fingers crossed, we can continue that this week.”

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