Latics’ Youth Team make the long journey down to the capital to face Queens Park Rangers in the third round of the FA Youth Cup and Trey Turner provided his thoughts ahead of the cup tie.
The vice-skipper reflects on the cup run, so far, as well as discussing his excitement going into the game against higher-ranked opposition.
“First of all, it’s great to get to this point in the competition after beating Carlisle in the first round. It was a dramatic game, and then, we went to Bradford and put on a good performance.
“I think that tonight’s probably one of our biggest games of the season, even if we win or lose, it's still an unreal experience for the club, the players and the fans supporting in the ground and at home.” He commented.
“I believe that ever since the Carlisle and Bradford matches we've grown closer as a group, we’re working together on the pitch more often, so the competition has had a positive impact on the lads.
“Whereas we didn’t have a brilliant connection beforehand, but now we're working together, and now, we understand each other’s individual game which benefits the team’s performance. We're working on trying to play with the ball, but at the same time not overplaying with it.”
Turner admits that he acquires a lot of respect for his opposition but reiterates that there’s an abundance of quality within the Latics squad which has resulted in several youngsters training with the first team.
“They've got more pressure because we'll be called the underdogs as we're from a lower league, but they've just come in straight into the Youth Cup and need to adjust and they'll be focused on that.
“We know exactly what to expect from the game because we've participated in two rounds of it, and myself and the lads have never been in the third round before, so I think we’ll be eager to impress and give it our all.
“Hopefully, we get the win on and continue to make the club proud. It's been a special run.” He added.
“We've got a lot of quality in our team this year. It’s well-known that some of them have been training with the first team which has developed our abilities and understanding of the game because even just talking to the experienced pros is massively helpful for us to progress.
“They’ll tell us about occasions and situations that we need to deal with better, but I think it just helps to develop us as individuals.”
Adding; “At the start of the season, I went into defensive-midfield, it’s just stuck, and I've not really moved to back to full-back as much. The Portugal trip is where I started to shine, and I've been flying since then and after that, I was given my squad number as well.
“I've been training with the first team quite a bit, so now it's been a proud moment for me and my family and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I know that I just need to keep it going and keep getting my head down and continue to do well on and off the pitch.”
The defensive-midfielder believes that injuries will not be a problem because of the significant meaning of the fixture, and elaborates on his respect for Selim Benachour.
“There's a few of us with niggles and stuff, but I think it's one of those nights were you're just playing with adrenaline, so you'll just be able to play through and even if you get injured on the pitch, I think you'll just be able to bounce back up and carry on for the team.
“I think that Selim's (Benachour) done a very good job for the Youth Team, so it doesn’t surprise me that he’s got the first team to beat Sunderland in the Papa John's Trophy which has got them to the round of 16.
“That's a good achievement for him, but he's also helped us out a lot, he's been checking on us to see how we're doing, and he’ll be on the sidelines tonight as well as Conor (Marlin) and he’s also doing a very good job.”
Turner acknowledges the impressive support that the lads have received from Latics fans during their achievements in the Youth Cup.
“I don't think that the parents could be any prouder of us like, we've done incredibly going through the first two rounds against Carlisle and Bradford and they've all come to support us which is greatly appreciated. It's a long journey to QPR, so I'm sure if they're not there, there'll be watching it on the livestream.
“I’ve noticed that across all social media platforms, the fans have been really supporting us, and, especially, after the last two Youth Cup games, they've been very supportive and it was really great to experience that, I hope it continues.
“We're getting live-streamed and I think it's a good job, so they can get to watch us if they haven’t made the journey. I’m looking forward to the game, and I'm excited to play at Queens Park Rangers’ ground as well.
“It's not every day that you get to play on that type of stadium and pitch. They were once in the Premier League, so I'm very excited and the whole team is as well.”