Luton Town have named a strong squad for their FA Youth Cup first round clash at Barnet this evening.
Defender Akin Famewo, who started the League Two fixture are Hartlepool in September, is joined by Tyreeq Bakinson, who made his Football League debut last term and began both EFL Checkatrade Trophy games this season too.
Meanwhile, three others with first team experience have been named in the squad, Kavan Cotter, Freddie Hinds and Jack Snelus, for the tie at The Hive which kicks off at 7pm.
Luton, who reached the quarter-finals of last season’s competition, saw several of the squad, including Famewo, Bakinson, Frankie Musonda, James Justin, Liam Gooch and Alex Atkinson – earned professional contracts at Kenilworth Road after their exploits for the U18s.
Boss Paul Driver told the club’s official website: “We are really looking forward to it. Everything normally is about development, but this is about winning a game in a knockout format.
“It’s a different mentality required by the players compared to Saturday morning matches at a club’s training ground.
“The bigger games under the floodlights, in front of a bit of a crowd in such a prestigious competition, are always the ones where you learn more about the players.
“You find out more about the ones with the stronger mental attitudes, as we saw last year with the lads getting to the quarter-final.
“For the second-year scholars, it’s also a great chance to play in front of the first team management in a different environment. It’s a good platform for them to show what they can do.
“I’m sure those who did well last year – the likes of Musonda and Gooch – benefited from being permanently on display, with the manager able to see them with his own eyes, rather than having to rely on what I tell him.
“I hope the boys go out and enjoy it, play their natural game and do their best individually. It’s a different ball game to what they are normally used to, but one they should relish.”
With this tie in mind, Driver took the step of resting a number of his side during their 5-3 defeat to league leaders Leyton Orient at the weekend.
Trailing 3-0 after just 20 minutes, the visitors scored twice before half time, and levelled in the second period, only to concede a further two goals late on.
Orient began quickly, moving 3-0 in front, with debutant keeper Lewis Todd given little chance.
However, Snelus pulled one back with a speculative strike from 30 yards, while he then made it 3-2, thanks to a deflected effort.
Todd made three excellent saves to keep his side in the game as in the second half, Michael Shamalo hooked just wide, before Luton were level on the hour, Harry Bean crossing for Geo Craig to smash home.
O’s hit back though with goals in the 63rd and 70th minute to seal victory, as Driver said: “It was not a game for the defensive purists with both teams looking like they would concede time and again.
“I was pleased with the initial comeback, as we could have crumbled at 3-0 so early in the game, but our defending just has to get better.
“We keep making the same mistakes and that’s just not good enough. It has to improve quickly if we are going to move forward individually and as a team.”
FA Youth Cup squad: Lewis Todd, Tyreeq Bakinson, Harry Bean, Scott Belgrove, Kavan Cotter, Akin Famewo, Freddie Hinds, Jack James, Ciaren Jones, Joe Mead, George Murray, Arthur Read, Michael Shamalo, Jack Snelus, Kitan Sorunke, James Verney.