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FA Youth Cup preview: Stags vs Crystal Palace

7 December 2017

Mansfield Town's under 18s will be looking to spring a surprise when they face Premier League side Crystal Palace in the FA Youth Cup third round at One Call Stadium on Thursday (7.00pm kick-off).

The Stags' reward for knocking out Grimsby Town in round one and Rotherham United in round two is an exciting tie against Premier League opposition.

The hosts will be confident of causing an upset as their winning streak was extended to an impressive six games at the weekend with a 3-0 win at home to Lincoln City.

What will please academy manager and former Stags' captain John Dempster further is the under 18s haven't conceded a goal during that run, which has catapulted them to the top of the EFL Youth Alliance.

The consecutive victories and clean sheets also extends to the FA Youth Cup, with 1-0 away wins in the previous two rounds setting up this eagerly anticipated tie.

Dempster could be faced with a selection dilemma as midfielder Harry Bircumshaw could return after missing the game against Lincoln and number one 'keeper Xavier Sundby is fit for selection after recovering from a back injury.

Deputy 'keeper Harrison Davison, however, is yet to concede a goal since coming in for Sundby.

Midfielder Keaton Ward has slotted into central midfield in recent weeks and was involved in all three goals at the weekend, scoring twice.

The South-Londoners have enjoyed an impressive campaign so far which sees them leading the way in the Under 18s Professional Development League South.

But Palace had their own unbeaten run halted recently by second place Watford; it was the first time the Eagles had tasted defeat after a run of five consecutive wins.

The visitors, like all Premier League teams, entered the competition at the third round stage, so this will be their first appearance in this year's competition.

Palace were knocked out at the third round stage last season, losing in a penalty shootout to Liverpool after a 2-2 draw.

Supporters can watch Thursday's encounter by paying admission at turnstiles 20-22 of the Ian Greaves Stand at the following prices:

Adults: £3
Concessions: £1.50


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