Dave Wilkes ahead of the FA Youth Cup game against LeicesterWe caught up with youth coach Dave Wilkes ahead of the trip to the King Power Stadium on Wednesday evening as the young Blues prepare to face Leicester City in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.
“The lads have done really well in this cup competition so far,” he said. “All the games have been away, they had a tough game at FC United of Manchester in the first round, but I think that has stood them in good stead and settled their nerves a little bit.
“As a team we played really well at Barnsley. Everybody played their part and I wouldn’t single anybody out in particular. It’s been a real team effort but they’ve all stepped up as individuals as well."
“We’ve tried to keep the preparation for these big games the same as we do for league games," he told us. "Throughout football the FA Cup is special, especially for young players, and they just seem to step up a little bit more when it comes round. There seems to be more adrenaline flying about, and that’s the difference really.
“There’s nothing like a good cup run to create interest and this has been a good one. Every round has been away - we’ve had some years where every game has been at home, including that year when we eventually went to Anfield. I think we beat Sheffield United, Huddersfield and Doncaster so we had some good games that year. They’re all tough games and I just hope we can perform tomorrow night."
On going back to Oakwell to face his former club, he said: “It was really nice to go back to Barnsley in the last round. There were still some old faces there that I knew, so it was nice to talk to them.
"It brought back memories when we got to the ground, even though it is a much better ground now than it was when I played there.
“It was nice to go and win because it gave me a few bragging rights!"
“I’ve never been to the King Power but it looks a fantastic stadium," he continued. "They’ve got a superb pitch and it will be a real test to see if they cope with that kind of arena and that kind of game. Hopefully they’ll play well and seize the occasion. I hope they can take their opportunity.”