Young Wanderers on cup trail

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , sports writer

WANDERERS take on Reading in the FA Youth Cup fourth round tonight looking to win in Berkshire for the second time this season.

After a third-round victory over Portsmouth at the Reebok Stadium in the last round, David Lee and Tony Kelly’s under-18s face the only team to beat them in the first half of the league campaign.

Conversely, Wanderers were also the only team to inflict defeat on the Royals who finished one place above them, and that was a 3-2 triumph away from home in September.

Lee believes the fact the two sides know each other so well makes for an interesting tie at the Madejski Stadium.

The coach, who travelled down with his side yesterday in preparation for tonight’s clash, told The Bolton News: “We saw in the league meetings that the two sides are evenly matched and we know a lot about each other.

“It should be a good game and great experience for the young players to play at another big stadium.

“In the last round they played at the Reebok and it put a bit of pressure on because it was the first time for a lot of them.

“Being away this time, the onus is on Reading and the pressure is off us a bit.

“We have travelled down a day early to prepare the right way and, hopefully, if we perform like we have done for much of the season, we can get the right result and progress.”

Lee’s charges go into the game on the back of defeat in their first Elite Phase match against Manchester United on Saturday.

A stoppage-time winner for James Wilson gave the young Red Devils a 3-2 win at Lostock in a match that saw Zach Clough net a brace either side of goals from Jack Barmby and James Weir. And while disappointed to lose, Lee took a lot of positives from the display.

He added: “The boys did quite well against United considering several who now train with the under-21s only had one session back with us the day before the game.

“We showed a little bit of naivity to concede in added time but it shows how far we have come that we are disappointed to lose to a Man United team.

“We can take positives into tonight, and with a similar performance we have every chance of winning.”

Tonight’s winners will be away in the fifth round to either West Ham or Tottenham.

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