Joint manager Joe Lea's message to Gosport Borough under-18s in preparation for massive Cheltenham Saracens FA Youth Cup occasion

Joint manager Joe Lea looked ahead to a huge night for his Gosport Borough under-18s and told the teenage prospects: Enjoy the occasion.

By Lewis Mason
Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 10:36 am
Gosport Borough under-18s joint manager Joe Lea. Picture: Tom Phillips
Gosport Borough under-18s joint manager Joe Lea. Picture: Tom Phillips

Boro' s young guns welcome Cheltenham Saracens to Privett Park on Thursday night for the right to reach the FA Youth Cup first round proper.

For Gosport, it's unchartered territory as the club have never never previously been in the third qualifying round of the competition.

But Lea, who manages the under-18s team alongside fellow first-teamer Pat Suraci, does not want the FA Youth Cup journey to end here, with a potential tie against Pompey or another Football League academy side which could await in the first round proper.

Yet no matter what the result against Cheltenham, joint manager Lea - who played in the competition during his time with Southampton's academy - wants his players to make sure they saviour what could be one of the biggest nights in their careers.

Lea said: ‘On nights and games like this, I think there are several things that come into play.

‘For players, they’re always thinking about who’s watching them so there might be some scouts down from several clubs to come and watch.

‘I also think, regardless of their hopes for the future, I think nights like this are the ones where you’ve just got to enjoy it because for some of them it might not get any better than this.

‘They’ve got to just to try enjoy occasions like this, under the lights, I’m sure there will be a few people at the ground against what will be a strong team - I think the boys have just got to enjoy it first and foremost.’

Cheltenham Saracens are sure to provide tough opposition having recorded a 3-1 victory over Yeovil Town's Academy in the previous round, while they have also won their opening three matches in the Gloucestershire Youth Floodlit League.

But rather than Boro getting too wrapped up on their opponents, Lea wants Gosport's youngsters to worry about what they can do to cause Cheltenham problems.

He added: ‘We’ve done what we can to find out as much information as possible (on Cheltenham).

‘Most of the time we’re either coming up against teams we’ve played before or we’re coming up against teams who are relatively local so you can always tap into contacts for information.

‘We’ve done what we can - part of it is focusing on them - but we need to make sure they’re worried about us and we perform on the night as well.’