Darren Edmondson ahead of the Leicester City FA Cup gameYouth boss Darren Edmondson takes his U18 side to the home of Premier League Champions Leicester City tonight for an eagerly anticipated FA Cup tie as the sides do battle to earn the right to face Middlesbrough in the next round.
It’s been a tough competition already this season with away games at FC United of Manchester, Chesterfield and Barnsley to overcome ahead of this fourth round clash this evening.
Speaking at a pre-match press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Edmondson said: “We’re all extremely excited about the game. It seems like it’s been an eternity since the last round and I’m happy for the lads that it’s here now.
“The added bonus is that it’ll be played on Leicester City’s first team pitch. It’s a brilliant stadium and there are a lot of professionals up and down the country who will never get the chance to play on a surface or in a stadium like it.
“Hopefully we’ll give a good account of ourselves and the lads will do themselves justice. They’ve had to do it the hard way, with every game being away from home so far, but that has suited the fact that we do like to play with pace up front.
“This one is a great cup tie for us and I think all of the lads would agree that they’d rather play it at Leicester than at home, so they can all say they’ve done it.”
“The lads have been really good about it in terms of handling the build up,” he told us. “They appear to be taking it in their stride and fingers crossed they’ll do their jobs and help each other through the inevitable nerves they’re going to start feeling.
“If we play our football and we’re all up for it on the night we’ll give ourselves a really good chance. If Leicester are on their game and we allow them to get on top it could be difficult for us. It’ll be a fantastic night regardless.”
“We’ve been able to get hold of some footage of Leicester and they do look a decent side,” he confirmed. “Ultimately goals win games so we’ve spoken about the fact we need to take our chances when they come along. If we do that we should give them a tough evening.
“What I really want to see is that every player copes with the situation. If they do then it will set them in good stead, whatever they do going forward from here. The second years have three or four months left of the two-year programme they’re on so this is another step towards showing whether they can deal mentally with big games like this.
“We know all about the quality we have in the dressing room and all we hope for, as we’ve told them, is that they go out and show everybody what they’re about. Looking back at Barnsley, the occasion did get to them a little bit. We had players going down with cramp and that was purely down to tension and anxiety.
“We’ve tried to focus a bit more on making sure they enjoy the game this time but we’ve also made sure they know what they need to do. Myself and Dave [Wilkes] have discussed how best to help them get into the right frame of mind because we want them to concentrate on how we play more than anything else. If we start well that should help us to settle our nerves.”
“It’s an interesting one for me on a personal level because I haven’t been to the King Power Stadium before,” he said. “To be honest, once you’re in the technical area it’s the same as any other match day. I’m just thrilled for the lads that they’re going to get to play there. Hopefully everything will click and we’ll see a really good cup tie.
“They’ve all watched Match of the Day at the weekend and a lot of the talk has been about how good the pitch is and how good the stadium is. They had the ‘wow’ factor with Oakwell in the last round, so they should be better prepared for that feeling this time.
“They’ve shown us that they do raise themselves for these cup games and we’ve some excellent individual performances. They’ve made a few FA Cup stories already and hopefully there are one or two still to be written for them. They’ve stepped up for three very difficult games already this season. Let’s hope they can do it again for us on Wednesday night.”