Doncaster Rovers U18s urged to put on a show on Keepmoat debut in FA Youth Cup clash
Gary McSheffrey wants his Doncaster Rovers youngsters to put on a show as they step onto the Keepmoat turf for the first time tonight.
But he is keen for them to ensure there will be more nights under the lights at the stadium by beating their Rotherham United counterparts in the FA Youth Cup.
When Rovers U18s host the Millers on Tuesday night, it will be the first time any of the group have played at the home of the senior squad. Restrictions due to Covid-19 plus away draws last term have so far denied them the opportunity to do so.
And boss McSheffrey has urged his young side to rise to the occasion.
“I’m hoping the boys can really turn up and put on a show for the occasion,” he told the Free Press.
“It’s their first real game at the Keepmoat for probably all of them.
“That last cohort, the second year scholars last year that left the club, they didn’t even train on the Keepmoat pitch which was disappointing for them.
“I think Liam Ravenhill was the only one who had played a game there but that was as a schoolboy when he came on in a Youth Cup game.
“It’s good that these boys will get the opportunity to play a game there.
“We had an opportunity to do it last year if we’d have beaten Peterborough, we’d have played Sheffield United at home.
“It was nice we got the win in the last round so they get the opportunity.
“But hopefully we can play there a few more times by winning matches and staying in the tournament for a decent run.”
Several members of the youth team have found themselves in the spotlight in the last couple of weeks with seven of their number being named in the matchday squad for the Papa John’s Trophy game at Scunthorpe United.
Tavonga Kuleya made his full debut with Will Hollings and Jack Goodman coming off the bench in the win.
All three are likely to feature against Rotherham.
The two sides have already met this season, with Rovers triumphing 2-0 at Rotherham, who were then the league leaders.
And McSheffrey is confident Rovers can repeat the feat this evening.
“They’re a little bit like their first team to be honest,” he said. “They’re a bit direct, they like to get on second balls high up the pitch and they can be a threat.
“They’re in a good position in our league.
“We played them the other week and when we played the attacking football we want to play, at times they couldn’t really handle us.
“If we play how we know we can play, apply ourselves right and work hard, then we should win the game.
“It’s a winnable game but Rotherham are streetwise, physical and they can grind out results at this level comfortably.
“It’ll be a tricky test, it’ll be a good game but one the boys are going to be well up for and hopefully we’ll get the win.”
Tonight’s game kicks off at 7pm. Entry is available on the gate at turnstiles 17 to 19 in the West Stand at the Keepmoat, priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions and season ticket holders.