John Murphy says his Blackpool youth side continues to surprise and surpass expectation in this season’s FA Youth Cup.
The under-18s booked a place in the quarter-finals of the competition last night with a 2-0 victory at Ipswich Town, having previously beaten Southampton, West Ham United, Doncaster Rovers and Bradford City.
“They continue to surprise us. It’s an overriding emotion of delight to get this far. They’ve done the club proud and the staff proud,” Murphy said. “We’ve won five games now, so the lads are obviously doing something right.
“We’ve played two Premier League clubs, two decent Cat 2 clubs from League One and a good Cat 2 side in The Championship. You don’t get lucky over five games, maybe one or two, but not five, so the lads have earnt the right to be where they are.
“The effort, work-rate and the way they play as a team is definitely as good as I’ve seen in the six years I’ve been involved with the youth team. They’re getting their rewards from that.”
The youth team benefitted from a quick start to the tie at Portman Road, with Rowan Roache and Owen Watkinson scoring the decisive goals inside the first 25 minutes.
“We scored two goals early on, and that set the tone for the match really,” Murphy admitted. “The players worked it out themselves, they let Ipswich have the ball in their own half and then were compact in our own half to hit them on the break.”
The achievement of reaching the quarter-finals resulted in plenty of congratulatory messages come the full-time whistle, with the first-team players and manager amongst the first to get in touch.
“Rowan has been showing everyone the Whatsapp group that the first-team have and they’ve all been interested and sent messages. The manager is buzzing and I’ve never had so many text messages in my life! All the credit must go to the players because we can only lead and guide them,” Murphy insisted.
Nottingham Forest or Blackburn will be Blackpool’s opponents in the next round, so a scouting trip will be planned for the tie, which takes place next week.
“We’ll be going to that. The staff will see what happens and then we’ll plan from there. It’ll be a good tie whoever we face,” added The Seasiders’ Professional Development Phase coach.