Young guns ready for Youth Cup trip

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SHEFFIELD United head to St Mary’s next week in confident mood ahead of their David and Goliath clash with Southampton.

Monday evening’s FA Youth Cup third round tie pits the South Yorkshire club against one of the biggest spenders in academy competition.

But, as their march into last season’s final proved, John Pemberton’s squad boasts enough talent within its ranks to overcome obstacles such as finance and reputation.

“Southampton are regarded as one of the really big teams at this level,” Pemberton said. “But we’ll go down there and be confident of giving a good account of ourselves.

“It’s going to be a tough game - not least due to the journey involved - because I’ve got a lot of respect for the work they do down there.

“We’ll do our homework, make sure everyone is well-versed with regards to what they need to do and then look forward to the game.”

While United divert significant funds - including a portion of all transfer fees raises - towards their development centre at Shirecliffe, they are understood to be dwarfed by those lavished on Southampton’s counterpart in the nearby village of Marchwood. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Adam Lallana are among its most recent graduates.

United have knocked-out Tranmere and Port Vale en route to Hampshire and Pemberton said: “It should be another great experience for our lads and one they’ll be looking forward too.”