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Al hopes players take inspiration from cup heroes


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Coach Alan Connell has urged his AFC Bournemouth young guns to “take inspiration” from the club’s FA Youth Cup class of 2018/19.

Under Connell’s stewardship, the Cherries last season reached the quarter-final of the competition for only the second time in the club’s history.

Following wins over Mansfield, Oxford United and Aston Villa, they bowed out to eventual runners-up Manchester City who lost a penalty shootout against Liverpool in the final.

The Cherries will be looking to match, if not better, that achievement when they start their FA Youth Cup campaign against Barnet next month.

A dramatic injury-time winner from Ben Tompkins saw the Bees book a place in the third round for the first time when they triumphed 3-2 against Cambridge United on Tuesday.

Barnet, who compete in the EFL Youth Alliance South East division, the same level as the Cherries, will visit Vitality Stadium on Wednesday 11th December (7pm).

Both clubs also have category three academy status with Cherries receiving exemption until the third rounds solely on the strength of the first team’s standing in the Premier League.

Connell told afcb.co.uk: “It’s always nice to get a home draw because it gives the boys an opportunity to play at Vitality Stadium.

“We had three home games in the competition last season and they were all very well attended and supported. Hopefully, we will have a similar turnout again.

“I want the boys to draw inspiration from what we did last season. It was a fantastic experience that I’m sure will make our players hungry for more of those occasions. 

“Some of our players are now second years and were involved. I want them to draw on their experiences and help the boys who will get their first taste of the FA Youth Cup.”

Discussing the draw, Connell added: “Barnet are a team that I haven’t come across in my time as youth team manager and I can’t remember us playing them in recent years.

“We will watch them, do our homework and prepare as best we can for what we know will be a tough game. We will certainly give them the respect they deserve.

“In terms of academy categories, we are at the same level so we have to make sure we prepare correctly and deliver a performance on the night.

“We have faced Cambridge in recent seasons and have always found them to be very competitive so credit to Barnet for beating them. It shows they have good players.”

Cherries will be hoping to maintain their position at the top of EFL Youth Alliance South West division when they visit Newport County tomorrow (11.30am).

The rearranged clash against Exeter City at Canford Arena, postponed earlier this month, will now take place on Tuesday 3rd December, eight days before the FA Youth Cup tie.

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