Wigan Athletic youngsters hoping to earn their Spurs under the lights!

Jensen Weir in action for Latics against Everton in pre-season
Jensen Weir in action for Latics against Everton in pre-season

Academy chief Gregor Rioch has urged the town to come out on Wednesday night and support Wigan Athletic’s stars of tomorrow against mighty Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Youth Cup at the DW.


It’s already been a big week for the youth set-up, with the opening of the Wigan Athletic Football Academy on Stadium Way.

And the club’s Under-18s are hoping to add the icing to the cake by toppling the Premier League heavyweights, and advancing to round five of the prestigious competition.

Peter Murphy’s side are eight points clear at the top of the Under-18 Professional Development League.

And Rioch says the game will be a good test of how far they’ve come – and how far they still have to go.

“It’ll do our young lads the world of good,” acknowledged Rioch.

“Last year we were knocked out by Liverpool, who eventually went on to win the competition.

“This Tottenham side beat Liverpool in the last round, so they’re obviously an elite side as well.

“They’ve developed an incredible number of players – not only for their own first-team, but elsewhere.

“And they’re certainly a benchmark for us as a club and me as an Academy manager.

“It’ll be great to be on the same pitch as them, to see how we do, and how we cut our teeth with the best.”

Season-card holders can get in for free for the 7pm kick-off, with general admission just £3 adults and £1 concessions.

Latics will be looking to extend an 11-match winning streak, and Rioch says the confidence that has generated will stand them in good stead.

“The league form’s been consistent, because we’ve had a settled side in the last few weeks,” added Rioch.

“We’ve got a good competitive group of boys, and I think it’ll be an exciting game, hopefully with plenty of goals.

“It’ll be a great evening for our supporters to come down and see the next generation playing on such a big stage.”

Among those expected to feature for Latics are England Under-18 international Jensen Weir – who was elevated to the first-team squad at the start of the term – and Scotland Under-19 duo Kyle Joseph and Luke Robinson.

Joe Gelhardt, 17, is also eligible, but hasn’t featured at this level this term.