DONCASTER Rovers begin the defence of the FA Youth Alliance Cup tomorrow away at Accrington.
Having been made to work hard for their 1-0 win over North-West Alliance strugglers Morecambe in their FA Youth Cup first round tie at the Keepmoat Stadium, the North-East Alliance leaders are expecting another tough game.
“I don’t know much about them but the North-West Alliance is very strong and our two hardest games in last season’s competition were against teams in that league,” said team boss Paul Stancliffe.
“The lads haven’t had much time for recovery, and that is part of their education because it’s very rare that these lads will have had a midweek game and a game on Saturday.
“But with the staff we’ve got on board now they’ve been able to help them.”
Having won the prestigious national competition for the first time with a 4-0 win over Exeter in last season’s final, Stancliffe says Rovers will not release their grip on the trophy without a fight.
“It’s not the same team in the sense that we’ve lost the second year players,” he told The Star. But we’ve still got such as Harry Middleton, Josh Meade, who scored the winner on Wednesday, and Evan Finnegan,” said Stancliffe. “You don’t want to have to rely on their experience, but you look for it at times.”
Rovers will entertain Gateshead at home in the second round of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday.
The North-East club beat Preston in their first round tie on Wednesday. Rovers had hoped to play the game the following week but the stadium is booked.