Gareth Taylor has challenged City’s Under 18s to kick-on again as his young charges prepare for the prospect of an FA Youth Cup semi-final against either Arsenal or Blackburn.

City’s youngsters sealed our place in the last four with a hard-fought 1-0 quarter-final triumph over Burnley at the Academy Stadium on Wednesday night.

Liam Delap scored the all-important goal midway through the second half on a night where City had to be patient in seeking to break down a disciplined Burnley side.

But Taylor admitted that his players will need to raise the quality threshold again as the tournament now comes to the boil, with City travelling to face the winners of Friday’s quarter-final between Blackburn and Arsenal.

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“Patience was the key word against Burnley, but we are not kidding ourselves… there is plenty to improve upon,” the Under 18s boss reflected.

“We’ve kind of scraped through the last couple of rounds but we’re through so we’ll take it.

“When you get to these kinds of rounds it’s not easy. Teams make it difficult.

“Burnley had a real good go and all credit to them as they gave us a real good test.

SLIDE RULE: Liam Delap gets the celebrations started
SLIDE RULE: Liam Delap gets the celebrations started

“I’ve really enjoyed managing the second season of the FA Youth Cup and now it’s the business end if you like.

“We’re looking forward to the semi-finals but it will be tough whoever we play, and we’ve got to be right whoever we face.”

Taylor was also full of praise for match winner Delap who produced a cool, composed finish, minutes after having had a similar effort disallowed for offside.

The powerful striker has made a big impact since joining the Club from Derby last summer and the Under-18s boss paid handsome tribute to the 17-year-old’s attitude and application.

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“Liam’s good to work with. He’s good ammunition to have, as I put it!” Taylor added.

“He had a couple of opportunities earlier in the game but when his chance came, he was actually really calm to control it and slot.

“Liam has improved a lot since I started working with him – he’s improved no end. There were some really good raw ingredients, but he has worked hard and he made the difference when it mattered.”

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