Youth team manager Tony Philliskirk has admitted tonight’s FA Youth Cup first round clash against Bury will be a tough game for his players.
Latics reached the fourth round of this competition last season beating Premier League side AFC Bournemouth along the way.
And Philliskirk’s men head into the game in good confidence after a resounding 3-0 victory over Burton Albion at the weekend.
Speaking about the game, Philliskirk said: “It’s a big local derby and a big game for both teams.
“Bury are an excellent team with excellent coaches. They have done an outstanding job in developing young players and they have won the North West league the last two years in a row.
“They are highly regarded in the youth circles and they are a good team. A lot of the lads know each other so that might add spice to the game but I just hope the players can go out and play with freedom.
“We are going out to win the game and we are going to be attack-minded in our play. This is the biggest occasion that some of the players will play in, we are fully prepared so hopefully they put in a good performance.
Philliskirk will be missing three of his key players tonight which has hindered his preparation for the game.
Northern Irish duo Brendy Glackin and Dylan King are ineligible tonight due to competition rules stating players must not be over the age of 18 before September 1, so they will miss out.
Ryan Leonard, who has been training with the first team, will also miss tonight’s game after dislocating his knee a couple of weeks ago.
“We are without our captain and central defender, centre midfielder and the striker, so it rips the spine out of the squad,” he admitted.
“One thing it does do is provide a great opportunity for a couple of the younger players to stake a claim and come to the fore.”