Chester FC Academy head coach Calum McIntyre is hoping his side can enjoy some more FA Youth Cup magic this season.
The under-18s kick-off their adventure at AFC Fylde this evening (7.45pm) looking to continue their fine recent record in the competition.
The Blues defeated Football League academy sides Fleetwood Town and Bolton Wanderers last year en route to the third round where they were eventually beaten by Broxbourne Borough.
And McIntyre is hoping that a little more magic can be weaved this time around.
He said: “It’s that time of the year again isn’t it? The FA Youth Cup is massive for us and we make no secret of how seriously we take the competition. We have had some tremendous nights in the cup and we really believe that we have a group of players who can do something special again this year.
“I don’t think anyone really wanted to draw us. Our start to the season has been our strongest in years but that said, Fylde is a really tough place to go. They have huge resources that not many sides at this level can get near and they have some talented players that will raise their game because it’s Chester.
“We are aware that they will be stronger than we went there early in the season and will be ready for that but we really just focus on ourselves. It’s a shame to be playing at a secondary venue, there won’t be the sort of crowd you would get here at Chester so it’s important we go and create a bit of an occasion.
“We know we’ll take a bit of a following up there, we always seem to in this cup. It’s what makes this club unique the way the supporters get behind us at Youth level.”
“Please don’t talk to me about beating Fleetwood Town or Bolton Wanderers. Please don’t talk about the time we took Chesterfield to penalties and made Oldham Athletic go all the way to extra-time. We have had some phenomenal nights in this competition but it really is about this group of players now and what they can achieve. I believe in this group as much as any group before and their start to the season shows exactly what they are all about.
“They are very much a gang and will stick together through pretty much anything, it’s genuinely frightening how close they are and I don’t think I’d want to come up against them quite frankly.”
While confident, McIntyre isn’t taking anything for granted but is hoping it can be another special night for his group of players.
He said: “Quite simply, strip it all down and it is our gang against theirs and I have an overwhelming belief in what my players can do for each other. These boys want some special nights of their own and they are ready to make it happen on Thursday night. I back them entirely and can’t wait to get them out there.”