BARRY Knowles has left no stone unturned as he prepares Chester City for their FA Youth Cup tie with Leeds United at the Deva Stadium on Tuesday.
The Blues youth team boss has plenty of contacts in the game thanks to his time as a player at Wigan Athletic and his spell as head of Blackpool’s Centre of Excellence.
He and assistant Jim Hunter, formerly of Derby County, have been calling in favours to get scouting reports and DVDs of Leeds’ youngsters to make sure they know what they are dealing with.
Either Knowles or Hunter will even attend Leeds’ game against Huddersfield tomorrow to make sure the Premier League Academy Division Group D side hold no surprises for the Blues boys.
Knowles, who has been with Chester since the summer, said: "I have called in favours from people I know who are working with Premier League academies to learn all I can about Leeds.
"They are still the biggest draw in Yorkshire and attract the best young players in the county.
"But we will have the lads ready and they will know what they need to do."
James Owen and Ryan Williams could be key to Chester’s success in the tie, as both have stood out in what has been a tough season so far. City picked up their first win of the Puma Youth Alliance campaign a fortnight ago, a 2-0 home win over Shrewsbury, but they have lost eight of their opening 10 games.
Knowles knows the second-year scholars were involved in last season’s FA Youth Cup defeat to Spurs at White Hart Lane will not be fazed by taking on high-profile opposition.
He said: "This is an opportunity for them. The question for Leeds is do they really want to traipse over to Chester on a cold Tuesday night?
"We will be up for it, that’s for sure. We have a good team and are looking to take it to the next level. Myself and Jim are new to the club but Mark Newman has kept the youth system here going for seven years and his hard work is invaluable in making this work and producing quality players who can be given first-team opportunities."
City’s first-team squad contains several former youth team stars, including Kevin Roberts, Paul McManus, Shaun Kelly, Glenn Rule and Paul Rutherford.
Tuesday’s first-round tie kicks off at 7pm. Admission is £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.