City u18s take on Crewe on Monday night with just 90 minutes lying between them and a potential spot in the FA Youth Cup last four.
Oxford United, Coventry City and Stoke have all fallen at the Academy Stadium so far in the competition in front of a potent attacking City side that has so far scored 11 goals in three matches while conceding just twice.
However, u18s Head Coach Jason Wilcox warns that quarter final opponents Crewe will be a tough nut to crack, and will arrive full of confidence that they can pull off an upset after seeing off Arsenal in the previous round.
Wilcox told mcfc.co.uk: “They have had some really good results, they beat Bolton and Fulham as well on the way to beating Arsenal so I think we are in for a really tough game. They’re well organised, have good individual players, and I watched them at Arsenal and was really impressed so we have got it all to do.
“Anyone who plays City now sees us as a big scalp and everybody wants to come and beat us. We’ve got to use that as our motivation and make coming here really difficult.
“I think if we work really hard and are organised then I think we will do really well. Anything can happen on the night but we are fully focused on making sure we put on a good performance and hopefully within that our individuals will shine.”
The former England international played in a Youth Cup final himself as a player, and admits he has eyes on going one better as a coach.
However, his main focus remains on his young charges, and he firmly believes this City side has the potential to go all the way in the competition.
“For me as a coach I am highly ambitious but it’s not for me, it’s about the lads and I just want them to get what they deserve,” Wilcox declared.
“They have the ability to go and win it and the desire to go and win it.
“It was our aim at the start of the season and we have the potential to do that, but undoubtedly Crewe will feel the same way as will all the clubs who are still in the competition.
“If we get past Crewe on Monday then that’s sets us up for a semi-final against Leicester, but Crewe will be a tough game make no mistake about it and we will have to work hard. They will fancy their chances and it is important we rise to the occasion.
“The FA Youth Cup is a very important competition and we want to do well and play good attacking football. We also want to show everybody the players we have coming through. For the supporters to see the talent coming through is really important. City fans have always supported the youth and we need that support on Monday night as well.”
Supporters have taken full advantage of the chance to come and cheer on the stars of the future at the newly-opened Academy Stadium, and Wilcox was keen to highlight the difference such support can make to a young side.
Drawn at home throughout the competition so far, the u18s boss is keen to continue to make the most of home advantage.
He said: “I think the support is vital. The more we have there the better the atmosphere is. The lads want to do well for the club and for the supporters and this is the start of their journey
“Having that real affinity with the supporters starts at Youth Cup level so the more people who come down to the Academy Stadium to cheer on the boys the better.”
MCFC U18’s v Crewe Alexandra
Monday 2th March
Kick-off – 7.00pm
Tickets for this game are priced from:
Free for all Seasoncard Holders and Cityzens Members*
£1 Concession – Junior (Under 16) and Over 65s