United take on Walsall
It’s big match day for the U18 side tomorrow as they face high-flying Walsall in this season’s northern area Youth Alliance Cup final.
Rotherham United, Accrington Stanley, Shrewsbury Town and Fleetwood Town have been seen-off with the Cumbrians bagging a massive 19 goals along the way to their cup final appearance on Wednesday afternoon.
“We go into it feeling confident,” youth boss Eric Kinder said.
“My only worry is that we seem to struggle in games when we go behind. However, I’ve also seen us score first and go on to win convincingly. That makes me think that the first goal will be very important for us. From the evidence of this season it will determine our mindset for the rest of the game.”
“If we do win then it will be because we have worked very, very hard,” he continued. “We will also need that little bit of luck because they are probably the best side we have played this season by a long way.
“It’s one for us to look forward to and I hope we go out and do it properly.”
As for the players, and as you would expect, there are a few added nerves around ahead of the big day.
“I’m getting nervous because it’s a big game for us,” keeper Jordan Parker said. “It’s one of the last games for us all together, as a team, so hopefully we can go out and win it.
“We treat every match the same effort-wise, but it’s going to be massive for us because of the fact it is a final. We really want to win because we think we deserve it.”
“This is one of the best achievements for me during my career so far,” captain Tom Berwick confirmed. “Everyone wants to get to a cup final as a player, so to do this is a great accomplishment.”
“I’m not sure how the lads will approach this game,” he continued. “I think most will act as if it’s a normal match. We just need to make sure we stay focused and do things right. I probably will get nervous, iIt might be tomorrow morning or lying in bed tonight ... it’s all good nerves though.”
“It’s been a good run to the final,” striker Alex Salmon told us. “Some of the games, like the Shrewsbury one, were quite straightforward but the Fleetwood one had lots of ups and downs.
“This is the first final I’ve played in, so it’s definitely a highlight. Everyone has their own little ways they prepare for these games and we’ll all go about that as normal. I usually get nervous about twenty minutes before kick-off, but by the time we start I’m fine.”
“Everyone is looking good in training and we’re all very excited about it. Not many people get to play in finals, so it will be good for us. To get to the full final would be fantastic, and it would give us a chance to play at a really good ground. Hopefully we can get there.”
United Player subscribers can see some pre-match build up on Wednesday morning, including clips from the Tuesday training session.
United Youth v Walsall Youth, Youth Alliance Cup Final, Wednesday 3 April, Creighton Rugby Club, kick off 1pm