Gill’s Orient youngsters prepare for ‘big occasion’ in FA Youth Cup
PUBLISHED: 14:35 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:35 01 October 2018
Simon O'Connor Photography
The O’s under-18 will host Romford this Tuesday (October 2) at the Breyer Group Stadium in a 7pm kick-off
The next crop of talented youngsters at Leyton Orient will get a chance to show off their potential tomorrow night when they play against Romford at the Breyer Group Stadium in the second qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup.
Peter Gill’s under-18s have had a challenging start to the new campaign and have yet to win in the Youth Alliance South East division.
After clinching the Merit Division 2 title last May, the young Orient academy team have come up against some strong sides this season.
Heavy defeats were suffered at home to Cambridge United (4-2) on September 1 and at Northampton Town (5-1) a week later.
Peterborough United also thrashed O’s in the Youth Alliance Cup on September 11 by 5-2 score and more losses have followed recently – at home to Southend United (5-0) on September 22 and last weekend at Gillingham (4-1).
It has been difficult for the Orient under-18s, but they have several players who are still first-year scholars and were without a few more of their experienced members in the first handful of matches.
While it has been tough for Gill and his team of coaches, development is the priority over results and Tuesday will be the next stage for some of this team.
A decent chunk will have never played in a stadium the size of Brisbane Road before and how they handle the situation will go a long way to showing where their future in the game may lie.
Last season Orient reached the third round of the FA Youth Cup before losing away to West Bromwich Albion and first-team boss Justin Edinburgh is hoping they can go far again this term.
He said: “I am pleased for them to be playing at our stadium. It will be a big occasion for the young boys.
“Hopefully we can have a run in the competition and progress through this game and we can have a look at some of our academy talents and how they get on in a big arena.”
Edinburgh is expected to be present tomorrow to see the O’s take on Romford, who had to beat Tower Hamlets to reach this stage.
Watching the under-18s will bring back memories for the 48-year-old, who back in the 1986/87 campaign helped Southend’s academy hold Chelsea to a draw in the FA Youth Cup which allowed him the chance to play at Stamford Bridge in the replay.
Two years later and Edinburgh was in the Blues first-team and on the road to a great career in the professional game, so it shows the importance of the competition.
“I remember playing in the FA Youth Cup. It wasn’t that long ago,” O’s head coach said with a smile.
“In my first year at Southend, we drew at Roots Hall with Chelsea and went to Stamford Bridge.
“Although we lost the tie, it was a massive occasion going to Stamford Bridge and playing there, so it’s a fantastic competition and our young boys will have a great opportunity to show what they are all about.”