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Sterling on Newcastle FA Youth Cup tie: 'We must start well'

Posted on 27 February 2017  - 10:47

Kazaiah Sterling says our youngsters won’t allow themselves to be intimidated by the surroundings when we take on Newcastle United at St James’ Park in the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup tonight (Monday, February 27).

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The striker has bagged five goals in our run to the last eight of the prestigious youth competition but, with home advantage on the Magpies’ side this evening, he’s expecting a tricky test in the North East.

Indeed, for many of the players, the 52,000-plus capacity St James’ Park will be the largest stadium they’ve played at in this country and with a big crowd expected – primarily made up of home fans – Kazaiah believes it’ll be important for the lads to maintain their focus.

“I’m really buzzing to play in a stadium like this!” he beamed. “Personally I’m looking forward to it and I know the rest of the boys are as well.

“A lot of us have never played up at Newcastle before and their crowd might play a part. It’s a good challenge playing in front of a different crowd that’s going to be mainly behind the opposition – the atmosphere might play into things a little bit in the first few minutes but once the team gets going, I think we’ll be able to cope with the fans. I think it pushes you on a bit more to make you want to do well.

“When it comes to the game, a good start will be very important to help settle the nerves and really help us get into it.”

While we’ve often hit top form in the FA Youth Cup this season, we’ve endured some frustrating results in the Under-18 Premier League in recent weeks. However, Kazaiah says there will be no negativity going into tonight’s clash.

“It’s a game everyone has been looking forward to,” he added. “We’ve had a few disappointing results but in the last few games we’ve been playing well so it feels like we can get into the groove again tonight.

“Now that it’s game day everyone is focused on the game ahead – nothing from the past, just literally this game and doing the best we can on the day.”