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Excitement builds as Youth Cup looms

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Coach Pat Holland says his under-18 Youth Cup side are 'excited' at the prospect of performing at White Hart Lane on Wednesday as they attempt to progress to round four of the prestigious competition.

With left-sided defender Marcel McKie struggling with injury, Pat is able to call on only two players who have played on the stage before and he insists the message is the same as any previous year - enjoy it.

"I think the kids are excited about playing there. One or two have played before - Jamie Slabber and Nicky Wettner - but the others have not had any experience at all of playing there.

"So for them it will be a good occasion.

"I don't think there's much you can do to make sure they remain calm, it is an individual thing. They'll have their collective thoughts as players and young people and I think you can say the same things as we do every year - enjoy it, it is your Cup final, they'll be people watching and possibly the manager.

"It is an important occasion for everybody and everyone likes to have a good run in the Youth Cup.

"We will tell them a wee thing about the opposition and try and give them a picture of what they are going to come up against."

Pat adds that a lengthy cup run - last season's team reached the semi-finals - provides a lift for the Academy and offers valuable experience of knock-out football.

"As a kid it is a bit of a whirlwind. If you get a run going it gives everyone a boost throughout the season. We had it last year and it generates a lot of interest.

"They did ever so well in the first game at Portsmouth this season. I think this will be a different sort of game, it'll be a tougher game. Swindon have got one or two decent players so it will be an interesting evening. They are getting exciting about it now.

"It's nice, I've spoken to a couple of the younger players at the club - your Anthony Gardners and Alton Thelwells - and they've expressed interest. I think they'll turn up for it, which I think is terrific.

"That is the collective thing. You see the staff come and watch as well and they get a good picture of how our kids cope on the main pitch."

Pat has been to watch Swindon personally, but admits he got slightly distracted when he bumped into an old friend.

"I should know quite a bit because we went to see them in the second round proper, but I bumped into Swindon manager Andy King. So that was the end of that evening as all we talked about was football for the whole game.

"Jimmy Neighbour managed to escape so I'm hoping he saw quite a bit of them. From what I saw, the two strikers are quite lively along with the left winger. They also got a schoolboy midfielder they rate highly who didn't play on the evening.

"I think they'll be a very competitive side."

FA Youth Cup 4th round
Tottenham Hotspur v Swindon Town
Wednesday January 15, kick-off 7pm
£3 adults/£1 children