After the snow last Saturday forced this fixture to be re-arranged its still all to play for as Adam’s aces are braced for their big FA County Youth Cup challenge
ADAM Coyle insists his Gloucestershire FA Under-18 cup-chasing charges can enter Norwich this weekend believing all things are possible, writes Simon Parkinson.
Our representative hopefuls take on Norfolk FA for an enticing last-four test this Saturday (March 10) to determine who faces Staffordshire FA, 5-2 away victors over Berkshire in last Sunday’s other semis tie, in the 2017-18 FA County Youth Cup final.
Co-boss Coyle enthused: “It’s a match we are all looking forward to but in many ways it is just another game and should be treated as such; we can’t get too worried about it being a semi-final.
“We have been lucky in having had three home ties so far in the competition. Now we have a long trip ahead of us and a tough game to tackle.
“But the players are in a good frame of mind and we are confident that on our day we are a test for anybody.”
Saturday’s match starts at 11.30am at the FDC sports complex in Norwich, which is why preparations have been meticulous – and sensible too!
“There’ll be no making the five to six-hour trek on the morning of the game!” smiled Coyle’s fellow manager Calum Wands, who also coaches the GFA women’s rep team and is head coach of Hartpury University Women.
“We’ll be looking to leave the GFA site in Almondsbury on Friday between 3pm and 4pm so we’ll be getting to Norwich late enough as it is for an overnight stay at a hotel. But at least we’ll be there in good time for kick-off.
“For most of us, including me, it will be a new and exciting experience and everyone is looking forward to it immensely.”
“There’ll undoubtedly be a few butterflies but we know that even if things aren’t always going for us we have the capacity to get back into games.
Wands maintained: “We showed we can cope with pressure against Durham in the quarter-finals when we went a goal down in the first minute but took stock and worked our way back to win 5-1.
“Adam and I aren’t screamers and barkers from the side: we want the lads to enjoy their football and the more they enjoy it, the more they can express their undoubted talent.
“We haven’t needed to motivate anyone too much; a lot of lads know each other from playing in the same regular teams such as SGS Filton, Gloucester City and Bristol Academy and that ensures good cohesion.”
With fitness concerns over full-backs Sam Larkins and Harvey Paul, the managerial duo have drafted in Logan Roach as cover.
“Logan plays for Gloucester City Youth and Hartpury College,” Wands explained.
“He’ll be one of our youngest players which means he can be on our books again next year, but he’s come well recommended by Hartpury and we’re delighted he’s in the squad.
“Our right-winger/striker Elliott Gardiner has been carrying an injury but we’re confident he’ll be fit to play.
“It’s not just about Adam, me and the players. So much hard work goes on behind the scenes by people like Sue (Henson-Green) who has organised everything to the detail, making health and safety checks and sorting out the hotel and travel.
“She’s literally mapped out the entire weekend for us and Adam and I just need to be responsible for getting it right on the pitch.
“There’s Des too, our kit man, who is there every game supporting us and working hard and it is people like them and others who make the whole thing possible.”
Gloucestershire U-18 squad: Charlie Dymond, Tom Anthony, Sam Lacey, Nathan Hewitt, Noah Smerdon, Logan Roach, Luke Spokes, Andre Freckleton, Jardel Hartley-Keeling, Daniel McBeam, Marcus Kelly, Elliott Gardiner, Shea Bennington-Mannings.