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Spurred to succeed

Our Academy players insist they are driven by last season's disappointments in the FA Youth Cup.

Our Academy players insist they are driven by last season's disappointments in the FA Youth Cup.

The lads made it three 3-0 wins in the competition this time around when they impressively beat Plymouth in the fifth round in the mud at Home Park on Wednesday.

That set up a mouth-watering quarter-final against Arsenal at the Lane on Thursday, March 5, kicking-off at 7pm.

The youngsters have endured a couple of disappointing exits from youth football's most prestigious competition in the last two seasons and will use that as

"Last year we went out at Port Vale in similar conditions to Plymouth but we're stronger this time around," said goalscorer Ryan Mason.

"For the Second Year trainees it's our last year in the competition and we're all hungry for it."

"We learned a lot from Port Vale last season," added Dean Parrett, skipper at Home Park. "Plymouth was a tough game because of the conditions but we adapted, it wasn't easy but we passed the ball well, stuck to our game and got our rewards."

Ryan Mason

Ryan opened the scoring. "I've had five FA Youth Cup games and that was my first goal in the competition. It was ideal to score first, otherwise the crowd gets up, they have their tails up - that's something else we've learned."

Naturally, the lads are now counting the days to the Arsenal tie in front of what is sure to be a bumper crowd at the Lane.

"Being a big Tottenham fan, I can't wait," added Dean. "Hopefully there will be a few fans there and this is what you play for, a big game like this."

Paul Jose M'poku scored twice at Plymouth and added: "I was delighted to score but the most important was for the team to go through to play Arsenal.

"I can't wait to play Arsenal, a great game for us. This is what we train so hard for. We are all ready for it."