Our youngsters welcome Everton to Kingsmeadow this afternoon to battle for a place in the quarter-final of this season's FA Youth Cup against West Brom.
Kick-off time and how to watch
Today’s game against Everton starts at 12.30pm UK time. It is available to watch on the 5th Stand app, the website and our YouTube channel, with coverage starting shortly before kick-off. A full match report will be on the website following the final whistle.
In the last round
Non-league side AFC Fylde visited Kingsmeadow for the fourth-round tie. Goals from Bryan Fiabema and Ben Elliott defeated our opponents that day.
Luke Butterfield’s 96th-minute goal earned Everton their place in the fifth round, defeating holder Man City on home turf. Before that they clinched a third-round win over Wigan.
Everton 4-2 Wigan
Man City 0-1 Everton
From the dressing room
After getting injured while playing development squad football a month ago, the race to fitness was on for Jude Soonsup-Bell. The game against AFC Fylde came too soon for the young forward, but having returned to action last weekend he is feeling ready to take on Everton this Thursday.
‘I feel good. I was out for four weeks and during that time I worked hard to get back to fitness in time,’ he said. ‘I was working in the gym to get stronger and keep my fitness up as much as possible because I wasn’t able to move freely.
‘Now I’m back I feel fit. I got 30 minutes on the weekend against Aston Villa and it was good for my confidence to get a goal, now I’m ready for the Everton game on Thursday.’
With four goals to his name in 75 competition minutes, Soonsup-Bell helped our youth team to match its joint-biggest, seven-goal winning margin in Youth Cup history.
In doing so, it made him the first player to score four in a Youth Cup game since Roger Bill in September 1961, which was our first campaign as defending champions.
‘It was a proud moment for me and my family. It felt really good to write my name into the history books after such a long time and it’s a game I will remember forever,’ he said.
‘The whole team played well that day and it gave me a platform to build on. We managed to score eight and it was a great win to get our Youth Cup campaign started.’
Looking forward to the fifth-round tie and having studied Everton’s team for the past week, the 17-year-old says the team have to be at their best to get a result on Thursday.
‘It’s always good to get together and work as a team to build relationships on the pitch. We have worked on Everton, looked at how they play and studied their previous games,’ he added. ‘We have also been working on a few things of our own in training too and hopefully they come off on the pitch.
‘We are expecting a tough game. To beat holders Man City 0-1 away from home is a big message to send out. Everton’s Under-18 Youth Cup squad is good and we have to make sure we are at the top of our game to be able to beat them.’
In other news, this weekend's Under-18 Premier League game against Fulham has been rescheduled to take place on Saturday 15 May, 11am kick-off.