Sheffield Wednesday: Owls kids bid to cause cup upset

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Sheffield Wednesday’s youngsters will take centre stage at Hillsborough tonight.

The Owls Under-18s entertain Stoke City in the third round of the FA Youth Cup, kick-off 7pm. It will be the third meeting between the two teams in the competition, with Wednesday boasting a 100 per cent record.

Academy coach Steve Haslam

Academy coach Steve Haslam

Academy coach Steve Haslam told The Star: “It is a big competition for the young boys.

“It is an opportunity for them to play at the stadium and in front of a bigger audience than normal.

“This will be a new experience for some of them. It will be a fantastic occasion but they need to perform.”

Wednesday reached the fourth round of the tournament last season before losing 4-1 at eventual winners Chelsea.

At the third-round hurdle, they dumped Crystal Palace out of the competition, winning 4-2 on penalties following a thrilling 4-4 draw after extra time.

Jack Stobbs, Jack Taylor, Brad Beatson and Charlie Dawes all registered for the Owls, who had Matt Penney sent off. Defender Betason struck the decisive spot-kick.

Haslam admitted: “That was a special night. We showed great character and a will to win to come back from two goals down. It was a phenomenal effort but hopefully we will start a bit better when we play Stoke!”

Ex-Owls player Haslam sees no reason why the club’s young guns can’t claim another top-flight scalp.

“It will be a tough game,” he said. “Stoke are not on a great run at the moment but they are are a Premier League team and have Category One academy status.

“We are the underdogs but we have some talented players in our group who can hurt the opposition. It is a one off cup game so anything can happen.

“We would love to have a great run in the cup but the bigger picture is getting some of these boys into the first-team set-up. That’s the ultimate goal.”

Tickets are priced at £3 adults, £2 concessions, and the tie is free entry to season-ticket-holders. The winner will travel to Mansfield.