FA Youth Cup Preview: Preston North End vs Saints


Southampton’s Under-18s travel to Preston North End's Deepdale Stadium in the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals on Thursday evening, with kick-off at 7pm.

Preston North End vs Saints

FA Youth Cup quarter-final

Deepdale Stadium

Thursday 2nd March, 19:00 GMT

Saints are enjoying their best run in the competition in recent history, and travel to Lancashire in a bid to reach the final four of the competition for the first time since 2006.

The talented young group reached this stage with a 3-2 win over league rivals Fulham under the lights at St Mary's Stadium at the start of February.

Their journey began in the third round with a dramatic 3-2 win over Coventry in extra-time before a dominant 4-1 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park in the fourth round.

Preston North End play in the EFL Youth Alliance leagues, and also reached the last eight of the competition with a 3-2 victory.

The Lilywhites knocked out Luton Town at Kenilworth Road thanks to goals from Felipe Rodriguez-Gentile, Finlay Cross-Adair, and Kian Best.

In the previous round, Preston came from behind to knock out Gillingham away from home with Rodriguez-Gentile and Best again on the scoresheet.

Their talented 16-year-old Brazilian, Rodriguez-Gentile, made headlines in their third round victory as he scored five times in a 6-1 win over Rotherham in their opening game of the competition.

Fans are encouraged to support Saints' youngsters and, for any supporters making the trip North, tickets will be on sale at the Sir Tom Finney turnstiles on the night of the game.

Adults: £5

Concessions: £1

Parking will be unreserved on the night on a first come, first served basis.

Ahead of the quarter-final encounter current starlet Dom Ballard, who has scored five times in the competition so far, had the opportunity to talk with a Saints first team star who was part of the last squad to reach the FA Youth Cup final.

Theo Walcott, who played a key role in the 2005 run, explained:

"For me, what was good about the FA Youth Cup was playing in front of crowds, at stadiums you go to, those experiences playing in front of people meant something as well.

"[The Youth Cup] is sometimes where where a name can be found, but I think it's important not to put too much pressure on yourself and just enjoy it."

Looking ahead at the trip to Preston, Ballard said:

"I'm confident in the boys, and I'm confident in myself as well. Looking at what we're doing, playing in the B team together, it's good.

"We're building a good team there and, hopefully like [in 2005], we can go on in the competition and then play for the first team as that is our ultimate dream."