Wigan Athletic youngsters ready for Manchester United test

Peter Murphy admits Wigan Athletic’s FA Youth Cup quarter-final against Manchester United at Old Trafford will be the stuff dreams are made of.
Joe Gelhardt celebrates netting against Birmingham in the last roundJoe Gelhardt celebrates netting against Birmingham in the last round
Joe Gelhardt celebrates netting against Birmingham in the last round

It will literally be the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ for the Latics Under-18s, who have already put out highly-fancied Tottenham and Birmingham.

They’ll face the ultimate test against the competition favourites, and boss Murphy says it’s reward for the hard work the players have put in.

“What an experience it will be,” he said.

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“Having moments at stadiums like Old Trafford is what the FA Youth Cup is all about and it’ll be something the lads will remember for the rest of their lives.

“I’ll be really proud taking this team to play against Manchester United.”

Not that the Latics players will be turning up with autograph books and selfie sticks. “We want to win games and trophies,” Murphy insisted.

“Half of the team had a good taste of it with three trophies last season.

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“The Academy is progressing, with Joffy (Joe Gelhardt) making his first start for the first team, and the 18s stepping up into the 23s, with the 16s then stepping up into the 18s, they’re really proud moments as well.”

It remains to be seen whether Gelhardt will be involved, having missed Wednesday's first-team clash at Reading through injury.

But Murphy has been delighted with the level of backing given his side by boss Paul Cook, and several players who have turned up to watch the previous rounds.

“Everyone at this club backs each other,” he added.

“The first-team staff and players come and support us, and we always go and support the first team when the games allow, that’s just the type of club Wigan Athletic is.

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“It was brilliant seeing the lads walk off the pitch in the last round, and the gaffer and players being there to congratulate them. It’s top class.”

Friday’s game kicks-off at 7pm, and admission – and car parking – is free to all supporters.