Youth team vice-captain urges fans to turn out in good numbers for Monday’s FA Youth Cup tie with Stoke City.
Young defender Jack Koczalski is hoping supporters will turn out in good numbers for Monday night’s massive FA Youth Cup fourth round tie against Stoke City at One Call Stadium (7.00pm).
The Stags go into the game against a grade one Premier League academy outfit as huge underdogs, but will draw confidence from their exploits in previous rounds when they’ve defied the odds to pull through.
Our youngsters were just moments from elimination against Boston United in Round One, but Ollie Roome popped up in the dying seconds of extra-time to force and equaliser and penalties, where Sam Wilson emerged as the hero.
After Dan Fletcher’s 25-minute hat-trick blew away Northampton Town in the next round, history was repeated in Round Three as Roome again netted a last-gasp equaliser, this time in the 93rd minute of a tie against Tranmere Rovers, before Wilson saved two more spot-kicks to push our youngsters into the last 32.
The meeting with Stoke City will undoubtedly be the biggest game of our young players’ future thus far and Koczalski believes a big crowd can play a massive part in helping to drive them on in this ‘David versus Goliath’ cup tie.
“Psychologically, I think it’s quite a positive thing to be playing at home,” said the 18-year-old. “If we win this game, we’re going to be playing Manchester City away and that’s a big incentive for us.
“They (Stoke) have got to come here and beat us rather than us adapting to beat them. They’ll know that we haven’t lost here in the FA Youth Cup this season.
“Everyone in the dressing room is ‘buzzing’ and we’re so happy to have got to this stage. We’re the underdogs, so there is no pressure on us at all. Everyone is bouncing in training and it’s of a really good standard at the moment and we’re really up for this game.
“After losing in the first round against Preston, we’ve made a big statement this year,” added Koczalski. “We’ve got to this stage and I think we’ve deserved it.”
He continued: “Hopefully, there will be a big crowd. In the previous rounds we’ve had a good crowd, but because we’ve reached this stage and we’re playing Premier League opponents, we’d like to get a lot of fans here.”
Monday’s game gets underway at 7.00pm. Admission is £4 per person and turnstiles will be open from 6.00pm. Car parking is FREE for all supporters, whilst the Sandy Pate Sports Bar is open throughout the day.