Mansfield Town under-19s are in action in the Youth Alliance Cup Northern Section Final tomorrow morning against Rotherham United at The Graham Solley Sports Development Centre, a part of Sheffield Hallam University (10.30am kick-off).
Along with lifting the regional trophy, victory in this weekend’s fixture would also see the winners progress to a national final.
The young Stags reached the final after defeating Bolton Wanderers in the previous round courtesy of a 33rd minute goal from forward McKeal Abdullah.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s final, professional development phase lead coach Sam Collins said: “They’re looking forward to it and we’re excited. It will be a really good experience for them.
“They’ve done great on the way to the final. We’ve played some tough games against some really good teams.
“On Saturday there is added pressure with it being a final and if they get through that they’ll be in the national final which would be great for them.
“They’re a really good group of lads.
“[Ahead of the game] they seem fine [and] happy and the big thing we’ve told them all week is to make sure they don’t come off the pitch on Saturday with any regrets.”
Mansfield’s under-19s came out as 6-2 winners when the two sides faced each other at the same venue in November with forward Alfie King (brace), defender Taylor Anderson, attacking midfielder Jakub Kruszynski and forward Daniel Organ finding the back of the Millers’ net.
“It’s difficult to judge if that game [in November against Rotherham] will have an effect on this one [on Saturday] because they have a different coach with different ideas,” said Sam.
Anderson and left-back Darien Wauchope featured on the first team bench on Wednesday night as Nigel Clough’s side drew 0-0 with Grimsby Town at One Call Stadium.
Speaking on the duo, Sam said: “It’s great for them. Ideally they get on the pitch but that’ll come for them [with Taylor making his debut at Carlisle off the bench in February].
“It’s a really positive time for them and us as an Academy.”
Ahead of tomorrow’s clash, Sam said: “Everyone is looking forward to it and we’d love fans to be there and support the lads [prior to the first team’s clash with Sutton United at One Call Stadium]”.
All supporters are welcome to attend the game for free at the following venue: The Graham Solley Sports Development Centre, Sheffield & Hallam University, Bawtry Road, Sheffield, S9 1UA.