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Donnelly Aims For FA Youth Cup Progression

28 October 2015

Youth Team Face Crewe at Bloomfield Road

Ciaran Donnelly hopes his youth side can build on some impressive performances this season by knocking Crewe out of the FA Youth Cup this evening.

The Seasiders' Academy Manager, well aware of the task against last season's quarter-finalists, is determined to go further in the competition after some agonising defeats in previous years at Bloomfield Road.  

"We want to go through to the next round and get a really good scalp at youth level," Donnelly told the official website. "The lads are playing really well this season and have already had some fantastic results.

"Over the last couple of years we've had two really good ties in the FA Youth Cup at Bloomfield Road, especially the memorable one against Liverpool where we nearly beat them and went out on penalties. Last year we went out in extra-time against Birmingham after playing really well. We're determined to go one better."

This will be Donnelly's first taste of managing the youth side in this competition, having previously assisted Richie Kyle in the dugout. The 31-year-old stepped up to the number one role in the summer and is relishing the increased responsibility.

"I'm managing the whole operation of the academy as well as the youth team but I am enjoying the role," he said. "I love working here and I love working with the players and trying to make them better so that they can hopefully play for the first-team."

The youth setup at Crewe has been renowned for producing some successful talents in the past, including David Platt, Danny Murphy and Dean Ashton, as well as former Blackpool midfielder David Vaughan. The current Crewe under-18 side sit top of the Professional Development League 2 table.

"I've been to watch them a few times in the last few weeks and they're a good side. They're a typical Crewe team, they're very technical and play lovely football. It will be a big ask of our lads but there's nothing that we can't achieve. Our job is to upset them and not let them get into the flow of their football, as well as play our own game."   

A good performance in this match could see some of the Blackpool youth players stake a claim to be involved with the first-team squad.

"We don't really have to say too much to the players in terms of motivation because they know they'll get a chance at this club. Bright and Henry have shown that if you're doing well, then you'll get opportunities. Both of those lads are now playing regular first-team football."

The match at Bloomfield Road this evening kicks-off at 7pm and admission is free for season ticket holders, or £2 for adults and £1 for concessions. Entry is via turnstiles seven and eight in the West Stand.

Should the tie not be decided in 90 minutes, extra-time and penalties will follow.

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