Left back looking forward to his first taste of the FA Youth Cup tonight.
After watching Southend United U18s compete in The FA Youth Cup during previous seasons, left-back Tom Clifford can’t wait to play in the competition for the first time when Blues travel to Barton Rovers for a First Round tie on Tuesday evening.
The first-year scholar was in the stands at Roots Hall last season watching the Shrimpers as they played three home games on their way to a nail-biting 4-3 defeat to Middlesbrough in the Third Round. Now he can’t wait to take to the field in the prestigious knockout competition.
“I’m excited because it’s the first FA Youth Cup tie for me personally. Hopefully I’ll be starting and we’ll try to get the win to get through to the next round. I think the boys did well last year. Obviously they got knocked out against Middlesbrough, but I don’t think they deserved that at all and they were very unlucky,” he said.
“This is where I wanted to be, so watching them last year was big because it gave me a taste of what it is like in The FA Youth Cup. It would be massive to get a home tie and have that support and to play against a top side. Roots Hall is where you want to be, in the first team, and it would be great to play in the stadium."
Clifford added that, although the team had not been able to focus much on the match until after their Youth Alliance Cup tie against AFC Bournemouth, everyone would now be turning their attention to Barton and preparing properly.
“I think we’ve got to go there with a winning mentality. We can’t think that we’ve already won the game, so we’ve got to go there, keep our heads and hopefully do the job. We’ll do a lot of preparation now because we had to think about Saturday’s game, but we have had it mind. We haven’t been able to focus on it too much and it’s been important not to let it get into our heads.”
“We’ve got to try to get back to winning ways and get the Bournemouth loss out of our system. We didn’t play at our best and I think we need to get it out of our system ahead of Tuesday and get a win in The FA Youth Cup. It’s not ideal preparation, but you have to overcome these things and hopefully we’ll get a win on Tuesday,” he claimed.