Sammo asks Cobblers fans to turn out in numbers for youth team's big FA Cup test

Ian Sampson is calling on the Cobblers faithful to get themselves down to Sixfields on Saturday to show their support for the club’s Under-18 team in their FA Youth Cup clash with Charlton Athletic (ko 1.30pm).

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 7:30 am
Tommy Curry celebrates his goal in the Cobblers' 3-2 win over Stockport County in the second round (Picture: Pete Norton)

Shane Goddard’s side are aiming to upset the odds against a category two academy side and book their place in round four.

Town’s youngsters enjoyed the backing of a Sixfields crowd of more than 700 in their second round win over Stockport County last month, and it is anticipated that more will attend this time around.

That’s because the Cobblers first team are without a game, and Academy manager Sampson would love to see as many fans as possible head to Sixfields to watch the players who could be the future of the club.

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Cobblers academy boss Ian Sampson

A clutch of the youth team players also tasted first team action in the recent EFL Trophy defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion Under-21s, and Sampson believes that getting used to playing in front of crowds is an important part of the learning experience for Town youngsters.

“Playing in big games and in front of a crowd is a valuable experience for the players,” said Sampson, who played 449 times for the Cobblers between 1994 and 2004 and also managed the club from 2009 to 2011.

“The usual league games the boys play in are away from the spotlight, but for those players who want to have a career in professional football, an important part of that is playing in front of crowds where the spotlight is on and the different dynamic that brings to the game.”

The Cobblers currently boast a category three academy, so they are the underdogs for the weekend tie.

They needed extra-time to see off Stockport 3-2 in the previous round, and Sampson feels they are capable of repeating that feat.

“We found a way to win in the second round tie and that was another valuable experience for the boys and it will be another tough game against Charlton Athletic this weekend,” he said.

“They are a category two academy which in itself shows how hard the game will be.

“But as supporters will have seen at both first-team and under-18 level in recent weeks, we have some good young players at the club and with no first-team game this weekend, it is an ideal chance for the youth team to take centre stage.

“Thank you to everyone who is thinking of coming along, we expect this to be a good cup tie and any support you can offer the boys will be gratefully received.”

Coach Goddard has meanwhile urged his players to ‘make history’ when they take centre stage at Sixfields.

He is keen for his players to ‘showcase themselves’ in front of the club’s supporters, and said: "We’re under no illusions - it will be a tough game.

“All I can ask of the boys is that they work hard and try to be at their best and give a good account of themselves.

“We’ll be underdogs but we have to go into it believing that we can cause an upset.

“It’s an opportunity for the boys to showcase themselves and make history.”

The Cobblers go into the game off the back of a 1-0 defeat at Cambridge United in the EFL Youth Alliance League South East division last Saturday.

Tickets for the clash against the Addicks youngsters are priced at £3 for adults and seniors and £1 for juniors.Tickets are available on arrival or in advance, either from the ticket office or via ntfcdirect.co.uk

Charlton were 2-0 winners over AFC Wimbledon in their second round tie.

Shane Goddard interviewed by James Wiles