Defender looks ahead to FA Youth Cup on Monday 25th November
Central defender Josh Banton is looking forward to lining up against Oxford United in the Second Round of The FA Youth Cup, a competition that he has labelled as “very important” for the club.
Speaking in an exclusive interview for the matchday programme, the second-year scholar was under no illusions about what success in The FA Youth Cup means: “It’s a very important competition for the club because we’ve done well in it and a few years ago Southend got to the Fifth Round.”
“We want to repeat that, but it’s also important for ourselves because it’s a chance for everyone to prove that we’re good enough to play against any opposition and get as far as we can.”
Banton has been very close to the first-team at Roots Hall this term after a string of impressive performances for the U18s during 2012/13 and, as he seeks to continue his progress towards a professional contract, he knows that the Second Round clash offers an excellent opportunity to catch the eye of the management team.
“It’s that little bridge between youth team and first team where you have to win to get through. It’s not just about the performance, you have to get the result and it’s very similar to playing for the first team.”
“Some say that there is added pressure with the management watching, but that’s just something you have to deal with if you want to get into the professional game,” he added.
“All it might take is one thing that I do that might impress them - maybe a free-kick or a good header - where I can put a seed into their mind.”
And, as he attempts to do that and prolong his third FA Youth Cup campaign in the process, Banton admitted that he is “buzzing” about the prospect of taking on the U’s and securing a spot in the Third Round.
“No matter what anyone says, you will always have Swansea in the back of your mind, but Oxford is the main thing at the moment; that’s the thing we’ve got to focus on and we can’t play against Swansea without beating Oxford, so we’re concentrating on that game,” he confirmed.
Southend United play Oxford United at Roots Hall in the Second Round of The FA Youth Cup on Monday 25th November. Kick-off is at 7.00pm and admission is £3 for adults and £1 for concessions. You can read more from Josh Banton in the 16-page matchday programme, available for just 50p.