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FA Youth Cup - Philliskirk's Pre-Match Thoughts

4 November 2014

Youth Team boss Tony Philliskirk has been hit with a bout of injuries ahead of the first round of the FA Youth Cup clash with Tranmere Rovers.

The young Latics, who are sponsored by the Safeguard Group, are looking to bounce back from consecutive 4-1 defeats against Preston North End and Port Vale.

Before that, the club had gone on a ten-game winning streak including eight clean sheets.

The game allows some of the first year professionals to play on the SportsDirect.com Park turf for the first time but Philliskirk admitted it will be a tough test due to a long injury list.

He said: "Due to injuries there will definitely be four or five missing tonight. I might have to play a different system as I have no wide players available. We've done some training on a new system so we have done some work on that.

"Having said that, it will be a marvellous experience for the players that are available. It gives the younger players a good experience of the big game occasion and to play on the first team pitch."

Latics are no strangers to their opposition tonight (kick off 7pm) as they have already beaten them this season but Philliskirk is looking to avenge that defeat.

"Tranmere are a strong side who are organised under Shaun Garnett. They beat us on the first game of the season so we are under no illusions of how tough the game is going to be but we know if we can play to the best of our ability, we will be alright," commented the boss.

"We will certainly have to defend better than we have in the last two games. Ten wins in row and now we have two defeats in a row but that's football for you. The disappointing thing has been the goals we have conceded. Seven of the eight goals have been individual mistakes so we know that Tranmere will exploit that. 

"They have two very good strikers who caused us a lot of problems early in the season and if we give them the space and freedom like we did last time then we will be in trouble. Defensively we need to tighten up but it will be great to progress in this competition because it will be good to get some national recognition for the players."

For full match coverage, make sure to follow the club's official Twitter page as it will bring you minute-by-minute updates from the game.

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