Harry Redknapp has hinted that he might hand a start to one of our Academy players as we kick-off the knockout phase of the UEFA Cup in Ukraine on Thursday night.
Eight regulars from our table-topping Under-18 side - defeated just once all season and FA Youth Cup quarter-finalists - have made the trip as we face Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of our last 32 tie.
Oscar Jansson, Adam Smith, Calum Butcher, John Bostock, Dean Parrett, Ryan Mason, Andros Townsend and Jon Obika all played in last week's fine FA Youth Cup fifth round win at Plymouth and now find themselves in the first-team squad.
"Everyone tells me we've some fantastic prospects," stated Harry at Wednesday night's media briefing at Shakhtar's RSC Olympiyskiy Stadium.
"Parrett's been playing well in the youth team and it's a good experience for them. If they are good enough they can stand on their own two feet and play at any level. We'll find out."
Harry is without a number of players through unavailability and injury.
Roman Pavlyuchenko, Robbie Keane and Vedran Corluka are all ineligible for the UEFA Cup while Aaron Lennon (groin), Ledley King (hamstring), Jermain Defoe (foot), Jamie O'Hara (hip) and Alan Hutton (foot) remain injured.
Gareth Bale has also picked up a virus and has not travelled.
Harry also revealed that Jonathan Woodgate, Carlo Cudicini, Wilson Palacios and Luka Modric have been rested for this game with such a heavy schedule upon us.
He added: "Lennon has a slight groin problem, I didn't want to risk Modric or Palacios - we've got six games in such a short space of time and it makes it very difficult.
"The side is still full of experience - Gomes, Chimbonda, Dawson, Huddlestone, Gunter, Jenas, Zokora, Bentley and Giovani dos Santos."
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