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Murphy: We'll Give It Everything We've Got

Youth Team Set To Host Arsenal In First Leg of FA Youth Cup Semi-Final

20 March 2018

John Murphy insists his under-18 side will embrace the challenge of facing Arsenal in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup semi-finals this evening.

The Seasiders' fairy-tale story in this season's competition continues with a big game against the Premier League club, who boast a top Category One academy.

However, Blackpool have previously beaten three Category One and three Category Three academies to reach this stage and will be aiming to replicate those performances. 

"Arsenal have got good players and have obviously paid for some of them. We’ve got a dossier on them and the profiles include a Portugal under-17 international and England under-19 internationals, so it may seem daunting to some, but this is what you expect in the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup. We’re under no illusions that we’re up against top quality opposition," Murphy said.

"But we’re going to go out there and give it everything we’ve got, like we’ve done in the previous six rounds. We’ve earned the right to be here.

"We’ll embrace it. In my eyes, we’ve got nothing to lose because nobody thought we’d get this far. We’re going to give it a go."

Given that the tie takes place over two legs, Blackpool will look to make home advantage count on what could be a difficult pitch for the opposition. 

"Our pitch is definitely not going to be in the same condition as The Emirates, so we’ll see whether that plays in to our hands.

"We know Arsenal are technically very good, but we’ve got players that are technically good as well and love to get stuck in and tackle. We’ll certainly have to make the most of any tough conditions."

The task tonight has been made all the more challenging following Rowan Roache’s call-up to the Republic of Ireland under-19 squad, though it provides a chance for somebody else to shine.

“Rowan is a vital, vital member of this team. Anyone who scored 30 goals and provided 20 assists last season would be. If he doesn’t score, he’s always involved in the play somewhere,” Murphy admitted.

“It’s a big, big blow, but it’s also an opportunity for somebody else. Will Dunne has scored four in his last four games and he now forces himself in to the reckoning. It will tell us a lot about our lads if we can produce a performance without Rowan.”

The match tonight gets underway at 7pm and admission is free for season ticket holders, or £4 for adults and £2 for concessions. 

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