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1 November 2022



1 November 2022

Our U18s boss previewed the FA Youth Cup first round clash against Spennymoor Town on Friday evening at Oakwell, kicking off at 7pm.

Nicky Eaden's side head into this encounter as favourites against a non-league opponent, but the former Reds' defender insists our youngsters will not be underestimating the north-east outfit.

"One of the main differences for us is that we're quite used to being the underdogs," he opened.

"That won't be the case on Friday. That's no disrespect to Spennymoor, but they are from a lower level than us. It will provide a different challenge."

The turnstiles are open for this one, with supporters being invited down to back the young Reds on Friday night.

Eaden stressed the importance of the lads keeping their focus and sticking to basic principles of football.

"They're going to have to get used to it, playing in front of numbers, wherever they go," continued the 49-year-old. "It's something they're going to have to deal with it. 

"The pitch is the same size. The ball is still round. It's the same game."

Spennymoor Town boast an excellent youth set-up, as demonstrated by them already overcoming Blyth Spartans, Chester-le-Street United, Pickering Town and Emley AFC to reach the first round proper.

Eaden emphasised the necessity for his team to approach the match with the right mindset in order to achieve a successful result.

"We've watched them, got a couple of reports," discussed the U18s boss. "They've got some decent technical players. They're in a good catchment area, up in the north-east. The lads coming out who don't quite make the grade at the big Category One clubs like Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

"It's a cliché in these sorts of games, but if we're not on our game and at it and they are - the gap closes then."

The U18s currently sit top of the Professional Development League table with a game in hand over second-placed Sheffield United.

Despite the good form of our youngsters in the opening stint of the season, Eaden still wants to see improvement from his side.

"You're never totally satisfied," he admitted. "Friday night against Sheffield Wednesday was probably our worst performance in terms of with the ball. But the lads battled away and managed to get a clean sheet and a draw.

"In terms of attitude and application - I've been more than happy with them."

Also on Friday evening, we play host to the second edition of Social! Join us from 5pm, offering tasty street food accompanied by good music and a selection of beverages - with free entry!

Why not combine both and pay a visit to Social before backing our young Reds under the lights at Oakwell?

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