Friday 16 May 2014
Everton face Manchester City in the final of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League on Saturday evening at Goodison Park with both sides looking to succeed Fulham as the champions.
After beating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in the semi-finals, also at Goodison, Kevin Sheedy, the Everton manager, is hoping his side can repeat the 2-1 victory they recorded over City at Finch Farm in March during the regular season of the North division.
"We are really looking forward to it and it's what the players deserve," Sheedy said to evertontv. "They have worked really hard.
"Last season we got to the semi-final stage and got beat by Reading so I challenged them this year to go one better, and then one better again by winning it.
"It will be a tough game and I have a lot of respect for Manchester City who are a good side and finished top of our section. But we beat them at Finch Farm and that gives us a mental advantage. I'm sure if our players put in the same effort and commitment that they did against a very good Tottenham side then we will give ourselves a very good chance of winning."
"We want to play stylish, attacking football that people will pay to watch"
Man City's Jason Wilcox
Everton will be without Ryan Ledson and Jonjoe Kenny who are with England at the UEFA Under-17 European Championships in Malta, but Joe Williams who has been named the Under-18s player of the season will feature and is looking forward to a "massive" match.
"We've got this far now so all we want to do is win it," he told evertontv. "It's at Goodison and we haven't lost there yet at Under-18s level so we'll try and keep that 100 per cent record up.
Everton will be facing a City side with their confidence high. In coming from behind to beat West Ham United 2-1 at Platt Lane in the semi-finals they won their sixth match in a row and extended their unbeaten run whch stretches back to the beginning of March.
At Goodison they will be cheered on by some of the City academy players and Under-18 manager Jason Wilcox hopes other City fans can make the journey after the team were presented to the Etihad Stadium during the Barclays Premier League match against Aston Villa last week.
"It's going to be an exciting game, I'm looking forward to it and the lads are looking forward to it," he told mcfc.co.uk. "Some of the younger academy players are coming to watch which will be good for them, but good for our lads too to get a bit of support, especially going away from home.
"It would be fantastic if we could have a good following going across to Goodison. The reception we got on the pitch before the first-team game against Villa was sensational. It was something that should have ignited and motivated the players."
Wilcox, whose team put four past Everton at home in November, says his team's style of play should entertain whoever comes to Goodison.
"We want to play stylish, attacking football that people will pay to watch and one thing about this group is I would pay to watch them," he said. "They play football of the highest order at times, and we now need to get consistency which comes through playing and maturity.
"We know what we can expect from Everton, and they are always competitive. They have seen us play, they know we want to dominate possession and they will want to as well. It is two even teams and it will come down to who performs better on the day."
Kick off on Saturday at Goodison Park will be at 5.30pm and entry via the Upper Bullens stand will be free for all season-ticket holders. Entry will otherwise be £3 for adults and £1 for concessions and can be paid on the day at the Upper Bullens turnstiles. You can follow the match on Twitter via @everton or @mcfc
Saturday 17 May
5.30pm Everton v Manchester City, Goodison Park