Concentrate On Ourselves

Richard Walker

UNDER-18s manager Richard Walker believes if his side stick to playing their own game they will stand a good chance of claiming victory from tonight’s FA Youth Cup tie against Everton.

Stoke City’s youngsters take on the Toffees at the bet365 Stadium (7.00pm) looking to make it into the fifth round of the competition after their win over Sheffield Wednesday in the previous round.

If they are to do so however they will need to overcome the challenge of an Everton side who currently sit at the top of the U18 Premier League North table and with only one defeat to their name.

Walker says his side will be respectful of their opposition on the night, but has urged his squad to concentrate on themselves and execute their game plan.

“It would be naïve not to have an awareness of the opposition, but ultimately our game is our game, the former defender said. “We play how we play, no matter who we come up against.

“If we execute our game plan well enough then we will win the game, if we don’t, then we won’t, it’s as simple as that.

“We have an understanding of what they can do but ultimately it’s about us and we don’t deviate too far away from what we are about. We always believe our strengths will cause any opposition a problem.

He added: “We are six games unbeaten now which stretches back to the start October so we are in good form heading into the game.

“There is a lot of positivity around the group at the moment. The boys play with a big heart and always at a high intensity.

“While we will be respectful of Everton, we won’t fear coming up against them. I mentioned after the Sheffield Wednesday game that no one would want to play us because of the quality we have and the work ethic within the group.”

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AcademyTeamFA Youth Cup