Coventry City's youngsters go head-to-head with Premier League Arsenal as they bid for a place in the FA Youth Cup quarter finals...
The young Sky Blues welcome Premier League Arsenal to the Ricoh Arena on Monday evening for their FA Youth Cup fifth round tie and Coventry City boss, Tony Mowbray has been encouraged by the talent among the fledgling squad.
The Coventry City Academy has a strong record of unearthing local talent in recent years, with the likes of George Thomas, James Maddison and now AFC Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson among recent crops of Sky Blues youth team graduates.
Mowbray believes Monday night’s game is testament to the positive development of the current academy side over the season:
“It’s a gauge for the football club, I want to say how well they have done to come through four rounds against arguably bigger clubs and Premier League opposition in Stoke City.
“They have beaten some teams along the way that have hugely bigger resources than us, with Cat 1 status and have done fantastically well to get to this point.”
The Sky Blues boss will be keeping his eye on key members of the youth squad that he believes have the potential to step up to the demands of first team football:
“When I look at the team there are some young footballers in there that have a chance of pushing forward and putting their names in the frame to train with the first team," Mowbray commented.
Arsenal, who defeated Swansea City 3-1 in their fourth round tie, will be tough competition for the young Sky Blues, as the Gunners squad is likely to include names that have experience with the senior side - notably Krystian Bielik and Jeff Reine-Adelaide (with the latter scoring in Arsenal's fourth round win over Swansea).
Mowbray added: “This test in front of them is the biggest one they will face so far. Arsenal are playing European football, it will be interesting to see them at the Ricoh Arena against our kids.
“We’ve got youngsters who will look fine in that company. Young players need a platform to play - big games like Arsenal in the Youth Cup, that is a platform.”