The Sheffield United First Team aren’t the only ones planning for a cup tie at Bramall Lane this weekend, the U18 Academy side take on Everton in the FA Youth Cup on Monday night for the opportunity of a sixth round away clash against a London side.
The winners of the tie will travel to either Charlton Athletic or Arsenal, depending on the outcome of their fixture on the 21st February.
One thing sure to be on display when the young Blades entertain the Toffees is the fighting spirit and character which has been shown in abundance by Travis Binnion’s side during this years run.
The path from the first round has included no less than three penalty shoot-out wins away from home (over Oldham Athletic, Bolton Wanderers & Millwall), with an impressive 9-0 battering of Worcester City being the only round played at Bramall Lane so far this year.
We always try to follow the Academy sides as often as logistically possible, tweeting updates from the games and putting together reports on what we’ve seen – why not catch up with the road to the fifth round by having a look at our reports and videos?
Second Round – Sheffield United U18 9 – 0 Worcester City
If you aren’t familiar with the academy sides, here’s a short summary on some of the lads who could feature:
Jake Eastwood – The tall Sheffield born keeper has been a hero in the three penalty shoot-outs so far this season. He is an excellent shot stopper and has been involved in the England U17 setup recently.
Gareth Owen – Another one to be recognised by his country, Owen has represented Wales at various youth levels. He’s grown in stature over the last year or so and constantly communicates with his defenders.
Jason Paling – A right back by trade, he loves to bomb forward at every opportunity and can do so with a very good energy level. He’s versatile too, having played left back on a few occassions, as well as playing on the right wing from time to time.
Kyle Scarisbrick – Signed after his release from Everton at the beginning of last season, Kyle has been a solid defender for the academy. A strong centre half, but can also play at right back.
Julian Banton – The giant, physical centre half is a commanding presence at the back, and has improved the technical side of his game dramatically this season. Will rarely be out-muscled by anyone in his age group.
Ioan Evans – Rotherham born, but represents Wales at youth level. He’s a talkative captain that leads by example in the centre of defence, challenging for every ball and wanting to win every tackle.
Joe Cheeseman – Joe is a first year scholar who is strong in the air, and a constant threat from corners. Is having a good first year.
Elliot Ptak – The Derby born left back is also one that gets forward as much as possible, and has contributed a fair few goals and assists for a defender over the last couple of years.
MJ Kedman – This pacey left back is yet to make an appearance in the FA Youth Cup this season, but the first year scholar has been reliable when called upon in league fixtures.
Ben Whiteman – The Heywood born youngster joined from Manchester United before the start of last season, and plays an excellent role in the centre of midfield, contributing to both phases of play. Has a great range of passing.
Connor Dimaio – Connor has represented the Republic of Ireland at youth level, and has been consistently good for the Blades academy. He is strong in the tackle, has great energy and keeps the ball moving. He is a key component in this team.
Louis Reed – The diminutive midfielder also had a spell at Manchester United. His main asset is his passing but he is a technically sound all-round midfielder. One of five players to sign a professional contract in January.
Fahad Ishmail – A box to box midfielder with plenty of energy. Hasn’t been involved as much as he may like, but will get more minutes in his second year.
Otis Khan – An attacking midfielder, and another to join from Manchester United. He is involved with much of United’s attacking play, contributing assists or goals in practically every game he’s taken part in this season. He can score all kinds of goals, and perhaps just as importantly, he has a great determination to succeed.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Sheffield born and bred, he is arguably the most naturally gifted player at the academy. Technically he is very good and has added plenty of goals to his game, including a hat-trick at Bramall Lane against Worcester City in the second round.
Joel Coustrain – The half Irish, half French winger has played an important role in the team this season. He’s very direct, looking to beat his man every time he gets the ball. Is happy to play on either wing, but is predominantly left footed.
Kler Heh – Originally from Thailand, Kler Heh is another winger who is happy to play on either side. He’s a tricky customer, and is difficult to knock off the ball despite his size.
Jake Wright – A first year scholar, Jake has been useful as both a striker and an attacking midfielder when called upon this season. Like Fahad Ishmail, he will be looking forward to seeing more minutes as a second year.
Dan Cockerline – The towering centre forward was born in Warrington, but moved to join our academy at the start of this season. He is very rarely beaten in the air, and is a great hold up player for our attacking midfielders to support.
Jake Eyre – Also joined from Everton at the beginning of last season, and has been on the bench for the first team on a couple of occassions. He has scored plenty so far this season, including the second half hat-trick in the game against Worcester City and will be looking to build on that. Has been working on his strength this year, and has clearly bulked up physically.
Diego De Girolamo – The well known Chesterfield born Italian is working his way back from a cruciate knee ligament injury, chipping in with two goals on his return to action against Coventry. Has been on the bench for the first team in recent weeks without being introduced to proceedings.
Weather permitting, the game will kick off at 19:00 Monday night, with tickets priced at £3 adults, U21’s, Students, Disabled supporters and OAPs are eligible for free entry. We’d urge all Blades fans to get down and watch a good game of football, supporting the next crop of youngsters.
If you can’t make the match, follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/s24su) for live updates and watch this space for a report and coverage.