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Duncan: Come and support the lads

25 November 2013

Youth team boss hopes supporters will be out in force for his side's game against Oxford United tonight

Southend United's Head of Youth Ricky Duncan would like the club's fans to turn out in force for The FA Youth Cup Second Round tie against Oxford United.

Blues welcome the U's to Roots Hall with a Third Round trip to Swansea City up for grabs for the victors, and Duncan wants Southend supporters to help recreate the atmosphere of a first-team game at the venue to help his squad.

"I'd love the fans to come along and, the more support there is, the better the occasion will be for the players," he declared.

"It gives them a feel of what the Roots Hall atmosphere can be like and, after the 90 minutes, they'll not just have gained something from what's happened on the pitch but also they'll remember what it's like to play at the stadium and they'll want it more."

Speaking directly to supporters, he added: "In a way, your attendance will encourage them to push on and try to earn a professional contract here."

"I've been here for a while now, and I keep saying to the fans that it is their club, and the youth policy is the heartbeat of that club."

"If you're free on the night, it's a great opportunity to come and watch some of the younger players, eight of whom will be able to play in the tournament again next year."

"Some of these players might come through and you'll be able to say that you saw them playing against Oxford United in The FA Youth Cup when they are here at Roots Hall making their first-team debut, hopefully, in a few years' time."

And, as Blues' Youths seek to set up that tantalising tie against Swansea, Duncan knows that his squad will have to overcome a tough test in the shape of Oxford first.

"We always set out to try and get to the Third Round so we get the chance to experience a big tie, and you've got to look at Swansea and say that they are a fantastic club."

"It would be a great occasion for us to be able to go there and put ourselves up against a Category Two club from the Premier League."

"Everyone wants that challenge, to test themselves, and hopefully we can stand up to it like we have done in the past, but first of all we've got to get past Oxford, and they will want those same challenges."

"I'd love to get through, and I'm sure the players would as well," he concluded. 

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