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INTERVIEW: John Dempster previews the FA Youth Cup tie against Leeds United

7 December 2021

Looking ahead to the FA Youth Cup match against Leeds United o Tuesday night, Lead PDP Coach John Dempster is looking for his Under 18s side to continue their good run of form.

City’s Under 18s have won their last three matches and face Leeds United in the Third Round of the competition at the Coventry Building Society Arena, with kick off at 7pm, and Dempster is looking forward to the game.

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“We are in good form and we look forward to facing Leeds United who are a Category One academy and a massive football club who have got a history of producing players of a high calibre,” said Dempster.

“We know we go into the game as underdogs but as we’ve got a group of players that have given everything all season and Tuesday night will be no different.

“We are confident if we put on a performance and we are at our best we will give them a run for their money’

Dempster has been impressed by the performances of his side of late and is grateful for how the club have helped with their preparations for the match.

“In the last couple of years we haven’t performed to the levels we would have liked to but so far this season we’ve had some excellent performances and some outstanding results so we are hoping for that to continue.

“Going into Tuesday night the football club have been massively supportive of the academy, allowing us to play at the CBS Arena under the lights which will be a fantastic experience for the players and staff and we really appreciate the support.

“Hopefully we can put on a good show and a high level of performance for all the fans that turn out and the players’ friends and families.

With a number of City supporters amongst the Under 18s squad, Dempster revealed that the group are ‘excited’ about playing at the Coventry Building Society Arena for the first time.

“Preparations have been very much the same as we would prepare for any game really but of course the players will be excited and looking forward to playing at the CBS Arena.

“As a group it is more about maintaining focus and staying calm and composed.

“A lot of these players are Coventry City fans and go and watch the first team after our games on a Saturday afternoon and sometimes they travel away to watch the first team when they are able to.

Finally, Dempster stressed it is about ‘playing the game not the occasion’ and believes his side will be as focused as ever as they hope to cause a cup shock.

“We don’t need to rev the game up inside the dressing room, it’s more about being calm, composed and focused and as they are fans of the football club they always give everything for the shirt and badge.

“The emphasis has been about playing the game and not the occasion, but of course we are a development academy, so we are looking at the individual and how the players’ adapt to a new environment with the added pressure of being under the lights with a crowd and hopefully they thrive in that.

“We are going into the tie as underdogs, we have watched Leeds several times and they are a very impressive Under 18s outfit.

“We know we are going to have to be at our best to get anything out the game and like in the Adult FA Cup, we know upsets do happen and if there are any opportunities or mistakes we can capitalise on we’ve got to ready for it.”

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