WHILST the first team prepare for the first round proper of the FA Cup, the Under 18s take on AFC Totton in the first round of the FA Youth Cup on Thursday evening.
Orient Academy Director Andy Edwards is looking forward to the tie down in Hampshire against the Southern Premier League outfit.
“We always look forward to the cup. The FA Youth Cup has a certain aura about it, much like the first team with the FA Cup and we hope to do well in it this year,” said Edwards.
“You only get one chance to win it and we’ll approach the game with confidence but will stick to the way we play and the way we feel players should develop, and hopefully on the evening we’ll get the result we’ll be looking for.
“The players always look forward to the cup as it’s something a bit different and there’s a bit of a build up towards it. It’s an evening game under the floodlights which means we try and make sure they are not too anxious and that mentally they are prepared. It can be difficult to do that as it’s something they are not used to. Whereas the pro players are used to pressurised situations week in, week out, our lads aren’t, and whilst the league campaign is all about development – though we look to win games – there’s more pressure to win in the cup.”
The hosts defeated Aldershot in the last qualifying round, who in turn knocked out the O’s last year, and Edwards is giving the non-league side the respect that they deserve.
“We obviously don’t know too much about Totton but the fact they are in the first round shows they are a good side and we’re under no illusions at what a tough test it’ll be. We’ve played non-league opposition every year that I’ve been here and we’ve won three of those and lost one and each game has been a real test, separated by one goal.”
The FA Youth Cup usually brings more supporters through the turnstiles for the U18s, and Edwards will be grateful for any O’s fans that make the journey south to support the side.
“It’s lovely to have a bit more support for the games in the cup and the lads will have family and hopefully a few supporters there too so let’s hope our performance is right so we can make it through to the next round.”
The match will kick-off at 7pm and tickets are available on the gate priced at £4 for adults or £2 for Under 16s.