AFC academy boys must dare to dream

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Danny Laws says his AFC Sudbury Under-18s side will not be going to Swindon Town to simply enjoy a day out in their FA youth Cup tie this weekend.

Despite the odds being firmly stacked against them when they take on their professional opponents at the 15,728-seater County Ground on Saturday (1pm), AFC’s director of football and youth development believes their cup journey does not have to end at the second round proper.

“It is a really, really big game for us,” he said.

“We have played five games to get this far and obviously we have been rewarded with a tie against a professional club, which is why you enter these competitions.

“Obviously the professional club in these scenarios is the favourite, but we will be going there with a gameplan and the mentality that we will try and get a result, no doubt about it.

“We will not go there and have a ride and pat ourselves on the back that we’re playing in a big stadium.

“We will be respectful of them but we will go there and have a real go.”

Should AFC, who defeated Framlington Town 2-1 in the last round in their only home tie so far, be able to pull off a cup giant-killing at the League One club, Championship side Queen’s Park Rangers would travel to Suffolk in the third round.

“The fact AFC Sudbury are being mentioned in the same fixtures as Swindon Town and Queens Park Rangers — who have competed in the top level in our game — is fantastic,” said Laws, brought in to head up the full-time academy, which includes education, when it launched only the season before last.

“No other non-League academy in Suffolk and even further afield is left in it and the fact we are on the same pitch as a professional club is proof of where we are as an academy.”

Sudbury’s side are currently fifth in the mid-week Thurlow Nunn Youth League South with games in hand on everyone, while their players also play senior football on a Saturday for AFC Sudbury Reserves in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division.

Centre-back Tyler French, who remains regularly training at Ipswich Town as part of his trial there, captains the side who also include six Suffolk Under-18s players.

The squad were granted free use of the swimming and sauna facilities at the town’s Kingfisher Leisure Centre on Tuesday as part of their build-up and will leave Sudbury for an overnight stop tomorrow.