Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Wednesday January 18 2012
WATFORD'S U18's make the long trip to Tyneside to face their Newcastle United counterparts tomorrow evening the 4th round of the F.A Youth Cup.
The Hornets head to St James' Park to do battle with the Magpies for the right to face Queens Park Rangers at home in round five.
David Hughes' team were 2-1 victors at Millwall in the 3rd round back in December, with goals from stand-in skipper Tommie Hoban and Bernard Mensah doing the damage. Left-bacl Kyle Connolly was sent-off late on.
The Magpies on the other hand, cruised to a 4-0 victory over fellow North East outfit, Darlington. Goals from Remi Streete, Marcus Maddison and Adam Campbell saw Dave Watson's side reach this stage.
Watford went far in last seasons F.A Youth Cup, reaching the quarter-finals where they eventually succumbed to victory against a strong Chelsea side.
Youth coach Hughes sat down with his squad yesterday ahead of the trip to the North East to discuss the venue for the match which will be held at St James' Park.
Talking to The Official Site, Hughes made it clear that his side would try and treat the tie like 'any other game':
'It's a massive stadium, but it won't be full, there won't be 52,000 people there and it is still a green pitch with white lines around the outside of it.
'We're not going to approach it any different from a football perspective.'
The young Hornets will however have one change to their usual match-day preparation as the side travel up to Tyneside today (Wednesday):
'What will be different is the preparation because we travel up the day before, which is with the intention of giving the lads the opportunity to perform to the best of their ability, and to give them a chance to progress.'
Toon coach Watson also stressed the importance of playing at such a big venue when speaking to the Newcastle United official site:
'For the kids it's the highlight of the year, the Youth Cup, and you feel a little bit of a buzz around the training ground as it gets closer and closer.
'And they know what to expect now. They've played at the Sports Direct and had a good feel for it now, so hopefully this time they can go and play a little bit better.
'The first time you play at a big stadium, with a crowd there and maybe the manager and the coaching staff from the first-team, there's a lot of pressure on the kids.'
The Goldenboys are without youth team skipper Matt Bevans and striker Bernard Mensah (a staunch Sunderland fan), both are sidelines with serious knee injuries.
Watson will be without forward JJ Hooper who recently underwent surgery on a hernia. Other than that, the former Everton and England defender has a 'strong squad' to choose from.
Entry is £3 for adults and £1.50 for concessions and you can pay at the turnstiles of the East Stand on the night.
I will be in the press box for this one thanks to my proximity to Newcastle and the kind gesture shown by the Magpies media department.
Make sure you follow @vitalwatford on Twitter for lives updates during the game.
Date:Wednesday January 18 2012
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