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Youths take centre stage

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).

Spurs fans can take a glimpse into the future at White Hart Lane on Tuesday night. Our youth team take on Bradford City in the third round of the prestigious Times FA Youth Cup (7pm).

It’s an under-18 competition and under-19 manager Pat Holland is charged with the balancing act of mixing up players who are still available from his own side and Jimmy Neighbour’s Under-17s.

Pat, who tasted this competition at West Ham fully 30 years ago, knows exactly what the Spurs youngsters are going through.

He said: "It’s always a wonderful night for these young players. It tells you a lot about them — whether they can play at White Hart Lane, which is the biggest test they are going to get, whether they can cope with the fact they are out there and even though it’s only in front of a few hundred fans, one day, like we’ve seen with Alton Thelwell, Ledley King and Luke Young, there will be 30,000 in there.

"They’ll be nervous but you want them to be nervous. It’s an opportunity for me to look at some of the first years and I’m sure they’ll all be up for it."

Despite the obvious draw of the competition — the final is televised live by Sky Sports — Pat is quick to point out that the job at Academy level is all about producing players for the Premiership.

He added: "Teams like to progress but personally I think it’s about progressing players.

"On the night there could be a hiccup, they could lose, you never know. But when you look at it who won the Youth Cup in 1970? I don’t know.

"I played in a side that produced four First Division players and yet we got knocked out of the third round one year against Crystal Palace and the next against Leyton Orient yet out of that, we produced four players.

"We want to win and the kids want to do well in front of their parents but I don’t think it’s the be-all and end-all of everything."

Just a reminder — if Tuesday’s tie is drawn then the replay (which will be concluded on the night) will be at Bradford’s Valley Parade on Tuesday December 12 (7pm).

Listen to Pat Holland