PHIL Cannon has called for Blackburn Rovers’ next generation to ‘seize their moment’ as the majority of the squad prepare for their biggest match of their careers.
Rovers’ under-18’s entertain Leicester City at Ewood Park in the FA Youth Cup this evening, with Will Beesley the only survivor from last season’s run to the final.
Rovers’ academy director Cannon admits Terry McPhillips’ men are under strength due to a series of injuries but believes the match is a good opportunity for some to show what they are made of.
Cannon said: “It isn’t great timing because we do have a number of players missing through injury but that just means we will have to go with a young squad.
“Most of them have never played at Ewood Park in a competitive match before, I think it is probably only Will Beesley who has, having played in last season’s run.
“This is their chance to show they can cope. I have been at clubs before in the past where youngsters have frozen on nights like that and the game is lost.
“You can all have the ability in the world but that counts for nothing if you don’t have the right mentality.”
Rovers reached last season’s FA Youth Cup final by beating rivals Burnley in a two-legged semi final, before losing to Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Rovers are working hard to ensure their academy is awarded category one status in a re-audit in April, after being disappointed last time round.
Rovers were only given category two status and were told what needed improving to reach the standard they wanted.
“The all-weather surface is also finished now while work is being doing on getting the classrooms in place,” added Cannon.
“We are working through the points we needed to improve and are hopeful we will be well positioned come April.”