Sheffield Wednesday’s youngsters will take centre stage at Hillsborough tonight.
The Owls Under-18s entertain Stoke City in the third round of the FA Youth Cup, kick-off 7pm. It will be the third meeting between the two teams in the competition, with Wednesday boasting a 100 per cent record.
Academy coach Steve Haslam told The Star: “It is a big competition for the young boys.
“It is an opportunity for them to play at the stadium and in front of a bigger audience than normal.
“This will be a new experience for some of them. It will be a fantastic occasion but they need to perform.”
Wednesday reached the fourth round of the tournament last season before losing 4-1 at eventual winners Chelsea.
At the third-round hurdle, they dumped Crystal Palace out of the competition, winning 4-2 on penalties following a thrilling 4-4 draw after extra time.
Jack Stobbs, Jack Taylor, Brad Beatson and Charlie Dawes all registered for the Owls, who had Matt Penney sent off. Defender Betason struck the decisive spot-kick.
Haslam admitted: “That was a special night. We showed great character and a will to win to come back from two goals down. It was a phenomenal effort but hopefully we will start a bit better when we play Stoke!”
Ex-Owls player Haslam sees no reason why the club’s young guns can’t claim another top-flight scalp.
“It will be a tough game,” he said. “Stoke are not on a great run at the moment but they are are a Premier League team and have Category One academy status.
“We are the underdogs but we have some talented players in our group who can hurt the opposition. It is a one off cup game so anything can happen.
“We would love to have a great run in the cup but the bigger picture is getting some of these boys into the first-team set-up. That’s the ultimate goal.”
Tickets are priced at £3 adults, £2 concessions, and the tie is free entry to season-ticket-holders. The winner will travel to Mansfield.