Preston North End U18s goalkeeper Jimmy Corcoran says he and his teammates are prepared for a big game when they meet Oxford United in the FA Youth Cup fourth round on Wednesday.
North End’s youngsters travel to the Kassam Stadium in good form and high spirits, following a 6-1 victory over Walsall to progress in the Youth Alliance Cup on Saturday.
After defeating Bristol City in the previous round of the FA Youth Cup, the Lilywhites have the chance to set up a fifth round tie with Charlton Athletic or an all-Lancashire affair with Blackburn Rovers if they overcome the U’s.
Speaking to iFollow PNE, Corcoran said: “It’s going to be a big game for all of us. The last round at Deepdale was a good win for us, 2-0, and a clean sheet is always good but I think the lads played really well in the last game. It’s a big game against Oxford now coming up on Wednesday night, so we’re looking forward to it.
“Confidence is really high in the group. We’ve got a really good group of lads and a tight-knit kind of group. In the last couple of games we played really well. Obviously, it was a good win at the weekend against Walsall, 6-1 is a great result and a great performance from the team.”
With North End through to the northern semi-final stage of the Youth Alliance Cup and currently sitting top of their EFL Youth Alliance division, a win at Oxford to progress in this competition would add to the recent success.
“It would be really positive for us after the win at the weekend,” Corcoran continued.
“We didn’t really speak of the FA Cup before that. We focused on Walsall first of all in that quarter-final and now it’s all turned to Oxford in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Hopefully we get the win and go through to the fifth round.”
Wednesday’s opponents have already come through three rounds to reach this stage, beating Maidenhead United, Colchester United and Reading City, and Corcoran expects a tough, evenly-matched contest.
“We know they’re quite a similar team to us. We play in quite a similar way. They’re a completely different team to Bristol City. They liked to play and didn’t really go long too much but they had to in the game because we pressed quite high. But Oxford I think are quite like us. They can go direct, play short when they want to but definitely quite a similar team to us and it’ll be a good test.”
The tie will also see Nick Harrison’s side take to the field at another league ground, allowing the squad to build on the experience of playing at Deepdale.
“It’s a great opportunity to play at big stadiums. Obviously, we’ve played at Deepdale many times and it’s a great stadium. Now we go to the ground at Oxford and play there as well. I’ve seen the stadium before, it looks like a decent stadium so I’m looking forward to it."
Advancing to the fifth round would see the young Lilywhites match their performance in last season’s Youth Cup, where they were eventually beaten by Bury. Despite the potential reward of a local derby against Blackburn in the next round should both sides progress, Corcoran says the team’s concentration is firmly on Wednesday’s fixture.
“We’ve spoken about this between us, saying about who we could get out of Charlton or Blackburn in the next round. But first of all, we have to focus on Oxford and then hopefully a derby to look forward to. But we’re all focused on Oxford right now.”
Watch the full interview with Jimmy on iFollow PNE now by clicking on the video above.