Kaedyn Kamara sees the upcoming FA Youth Cup fifth round tie against Luton Town as a good way for Preston North End U18s to express themselves.
PNE will take on the Hatters in a 7pm kick-off on Monday evening (6th February) at the home of their first team, Kenilworth Road.
Having got past Gillingham in the previous round thanks to a late Kian Best winner, North End know that victory over the Hatters will take them back to Deepdale for the quarter-finals, where they would face either Southampton or Fulham.
PNE U18 midfielder Kaedyn said: “I think it’ll be a good opportunity for us to express ourselves and try and get to the next round.
“Some of the big teams have been knocked out of the tournament, so I think we can go quite far in this tournament.
“It’s quite different because the games are played late so the preparation for the matches feels quite professional when you’re playing the game.
“The lads might be nervous, but as a team we use that nervousness in a good way and it spurs us on to play good football.”
Kaedyn – still in his first year as a scholar – has become a regular name on the Academy teamsheet, mainly operating as a central midfielder.
The 17-year-old also made his professional debut earlier this year, in the senior version of the FA Cup, coming on as a late substitute against Huddersfield Town at Deepdale.
It wasn’t the day he expected either, having started warming up for the youth team ahead of their Youth Alliance Cup tie against Fleetwood Town that morning.
Kaedyn said: “I was warming up and then Jake [Atherton] ran over to me and told us, ‘Quick, you’re on the bench for the first team’.
“I was surprised because I didn’t expect it at all. I just went and got my boots, and when I got to Deepdale, my boots were dead muddy and I had to wash my boots at the stadium!
“Obviously you dream of stuff like that when you’re a young kid.
“The moment was just mad and my family were dead proud of me; it was a great moment.”
It wasn’t always going to be a career in football for Kaedyn, though, having grown up as a National Champion in boxing and a 12-time World Champion in kickboxing.
Before his arrival at PNE, he was in Burnley’s youth setup, and he had to pick himself up when his time there came to an end.
“At Christmas last season, I had a big setback with my former club Burnley, not getting my scholarship there," he added.
“I just got my head down, worked hard and tried to play football really, which I love doing.
“I just [have to] work as hard as possible, be patient and wait for my time.”