Coach Andy Fensome is expecting a tough FA Youth Cup tie against a “very good” Luton Town side on Monday evening.
Preston North End U18s face the Hatters at Kenilworth Road, with kick-off at 7pm, in the fifth round of the famous competition.
Having already come out on top against Rotherham United and Gillingham so far in the tournament, PNE will be hopeful of earning a place in the quarter-finals, but a Luton Town side sat top of their division stand in their way.
They are comfortable leaders, too, in the Youth Alliance South East Conference, with a 15-point gap separating themselves and second place.
The two sides did actually come head to head in last season’s Youth Alliance Cup final, and it was PNE who came out on top that night.
Speaking to iFollow ahead of the game, Fenners said: “It’s another opportunity for the lads to try and produce what they’ve been producing for most of the season.
“We’ve had some reports [on Luton]. We’ve watched some games and they’re a very good side this year.
“Yes, we played them at the end of last season in a cup competition, but both teams will have had different players, but they are doing really, really well and they score lots of goals.”
There’s plenty at stake for both sides on the night, with the reward for victory being a home tie in the quarter-finals against either Southampton or Fulham, who play on Tuesday night.
Fenners added: “This is a big tie. Any round in the FA Cup you can get through to is another game for you to go and produce, or go and show what you’re capable of doing.
"We’re lucky enough to have got through so far. We’ve put in two good performances and then obviously Luton’s going to be a tough game on Monday.
“I think the lads are always excited as soon as the draw comes out. People start talking and it’s up to us to manage the expectations.
“We’ve had a couple of really tough reserve games that a lot of the lads have played in.
“The league games we’ve not done as well in, but again that’s part of focus. That’s up to us to manage.”
Youth football is, of course, all about getting young players ready to make the step up to the professional game, and they get a real taste of what life is like as a senior on nights like these.
Fenners said: “Everyone wants to play in the FA Cup because it’s potentially the biggest tie that you’re going to play in.
“But what the lads don’t realise is it’s just another game when it comes down to it. It’s part of their development; it’s part of their learning.
“We go away and stay overnight. We were lucky enough to be able to do that at Gillignham so they’ve already experienced that this year.
“It’s good to get the lads together on a coach trip. The lads go down on the buses, so they understand what the first team do almost week in, week out, so it’s always a good experience.”