FA YOUTH CUP: Hatters U18s head to Oldham in good heart

Luton Town's U18s side
Luton Town's U18s side

Hatters U18s are aiming to become the first Luton youth team to reach the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup since 2002/03 when they take on Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park tonight.

Paul Driver’s side have been in stunning form so far this season, winning the South East Youth Alliance and reaching the League Cup final.

However, they now head to Boundary Park in the knowledge that victory would see them face Preston North End in the quarter-finals.

Driver told the club’s official website: “The players know that there is an opportunity to take on a same-level academy in the next round.

“We’re confident but it’s important, however, that we don’t get complacent. Oldham are a tough, tough side and will have home advantage.

“They might be 11th in their section but you can forget about that when it comes to the Youth Cup.

“I watched them against Bournemouth in the last round so we know what to expect. We’ll treat it like any other game but the boys realise there is a chance to really exceed expectations if we’re successful.”

Driver believes that his crop of talented youngsters can also take heart from seeing U18s defender Frankie Musonda make his professional debut for the Hatters at Mansfield on Saturday.

He said: “The boys aren’t stupid. Nathan (Jones) watched their session on Friday and Mick Harford spent time watching their session on Tuesday.

“It makes them feel as though people care about them. Nathan and Mick watching them is important. It not only makes them more confident but it makes them work harder.

“Frankie Musonda’s appearance as a substitute at Mansfield on Saturday shows there is a path to the first team.”

With Oldham in mind, Driver rested all of his full-time scholars for Saturday’s Youth Alliance game with Stevenage, fielding an entire side made-up of U16s in the 1-0 defeat.

He added: “We knew the importance of the Oldham game.

“We feel the boys have enough match fitness in them, so we didn’t want to risk them against Stevenage.

“We’ve trained regularly as a team so that’s not a problem. Playing them at the weekend would have been counter-productive.”

Kick-off is at 7pm and entry at Boundary Park is £4 adults and £2 concessions.