Preston North End U18s will begin their FA Youth Cup campaign against Sheffield United at Deepdale on Wednesday night.
The young Lilywhites will kick off at 7pm against the Blades and come into the game having won three and drawn three of their last six matches.
And after reaching the fifth round in last season’s competition – exiting after a penalty shootout loss against Luton at Deepdale, boss Nick Harrison is confident of doing well once again this time around.
“I think we’re capable of doing anything with this group because we’ve got some really good players,” explained the academy manager.
“If the players prepare properly for the game, get their bodies right, focus on the challenges and objectives which are set for them and they set and maintain high standards, then they’ve got a good chance.”
Meanwhile, Sheffield United arrive fresh from a 1-1 draw at home against Leeds United on Saturday but remain top of the U18 Professional Development League.
Wednesday night’s visitors beat Crewe Alexandra 2-1 at home in the first round before travelling to FC Halifax Town more recently where they were 5-1 winners to reach this stage.
Harrison is also respectful of the Blades, adding: “We’re up against a really tough opposition that are doing well in their league.
“We’ve been to watch them a number of times and have been really impressed with them. We know it’s going to be difficult and they’ve got some good players but, likewise, we have some good players. It will all come down to how the players perform on the day.”
The Cup tie will be the youth team’s first piece of competitive action for 11 days after Saturday’s home clash with Wrexham was postponed due to a frozen pitch, but the young Lilywhites have shown marvellous pedigree in cup competitions this season, winning four out of a possible five.
Second-year scholar Josh Earl is also looking forward to the cup tie after he played a key part in last season’s run to the fifth round, scoring two goals in three matches.
“We always give 100% in every game but there’s an added sense of excitement and pressure in the FA Youth Cup,” Earl said.
“There are so many different people watching and the thought of playing at different stadiums is fantastic. There’s a lot of hype over the competition so everyone gets excited by it and really looks forward to it.”
You can read more from the Academy boss and Josh Earl in Wednesday night’s match programme which is free around the ground.
The Sir Tom Finney Stand south is open for this game and season ticket holders of both clubs can enter for free on the night. Admission for others is priced at £4 for adults and £2 for concessions at the cash turnstiles at Deepdale.
This fixture will be streamed live on PNE PlayerHD so if you can't make it to Deepdale, you can watch the game live with commentary! If you haven't already, you can sign up for PNE PlayerHD now from just £4.49 a month by clicking here.
We will also be providing live updates on the official Academy Twitter account, @pnefcacademy, with post-match reaction and highlights online from Thursday morning.