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Gloucestershire boys braced for big Durham FA County Youth Cup last-eight tester

GLOUCESTERSHIRE FA Under-18’s enthusiastic management team say they “can’t wait” for the challenges that lie in store for them and their boys in this weekend’s FA County Youth Cup quarter-final test.

Cirencester Town’s Corinium Stadium plays host this Saturday to a mouthwatering match involving Gloucestershire and Durham (1.30pm) and co-boss Calum Wands, who runs the talented local team in tandem with Adam Coyle, says the big day can’t come quickly enough with so much at stake.

The home side, having been awarded a first-round bye, went on to overcome Amateur Football Alliance 2-0 and Cornwall FA 5-3, after a thrilling extra-time period, in rounds two and three, both on familiar 3G territory at the Gloucestershire FA headquarters in Almondsbury.

And while they will have to adapt to new surroundings every bit as much as Durham will at the Corinium Stadium on Saturday, the fact the last-eight tie will be played out on a similar artificial surface – a brand-new one at that – can only help the Glos boys’ cause in the bid to keep the cup dream alive.

Not that Coyle and Wands are taking anything for granted as the prestigious national competition truly begins to warm up, although the latter stressed: “We’re all really excited; the boys are buzzing and being a former Gloucestershire rep player as I am it means a lot to me on a personal level.

“I was captain and a central midfielder playing for Hartpury as my regular team at the time when we (Gloucestershire) lost 2-1 against Leicestershire & Rutland FA at the third round point a few years ago, so it’s nice to have gone one better than that.

“It had been thought that Gloucestershire had never reached a final but after a bit of research it appears we were beaten by Durham at that stage many years ago.

“Regardless of all that we want to keep progressing while very aware that Durham, according to the Cornwall manager we spoke to after our third round win over them, are a very physical side who like to put it about a bit.

“They also tend to have three or four game-changing threats in their line-up but I would say that we have six or seven who can do likewise.”

Coming up: stand by for more thoughts from Calum Wands about the big game and some of the key Gloucestershire personnel likely to be involved, along with a complete squad listing.

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