Academy set to visit Stockton Town in FA Youth Cup
The club’s academy players are set to taste their first competitive action of the season on Tuesday when they begin their FA Youth Cup bid.
The Under-18s from the SSFC Academy set-up are away to Stockton Town in the preliminary round of the prestigious competition.
The winners will face Spennymoor Town in the first qualifying round – the team which knocked the young Mariners out of the Youth Cup last season.
Tuesday’s match will be played at the Coverall Stadium in Bishopton Road West, which has a post code of TS19 0QD.
Several Shields players with first-team experience will be available for the 7pm kick-off, including Ethan Biwer, Jordan Patterson, Ollie Scott, Michael Colquhoun, Bailey Judson and Dom Minchella.
The team will be managed by Lee Picton and Graham Fenton, and Picton is expecting a difficult encounter.
He said: “Stockton will be strong, because they’ve established a really good reputation for their youth set-up.
“Their first-team squad which played at Wembley last season in the FA Vase final featured a number of players who had played for the club at junior level.
“They will provide a really stern test for our players.
“Having said that, we have massive belief in our academy players, particularly the ones who have had a full year with us already and who we have seen huge developments from over that course of time.”
Picton has full confidence that the young Mariners will be able to produce a positive result.
He added: “They really are an exciting group to work with and I’m sure the first-team experience that many of them enjoyed at some stage last season will hold them in good stead in competitions like this.
“We also feel that we have recruited a really talented new group of first-years who can push the older players in the academy really hard, and maybe even earn some first-team experience for themselves t some stage in the upcoming season.”
SSFC Academy teams will compete in the National League Under-19 Alliance and the ECFA Category One Premier League this season, with games in both leagues to take place on Wednesday afternoons.
Details of upcoming fixtures will be announced in due course.
Admission prices for Tuesday’s game at Stockton are £2 for adults, £1 for over-65s and £1 for children, although children are free if accompanied by a paying adult.