This season’s Dale Roberts Memorial Cup will take place on Sunday 19th October 2pm Kick Off.
The AFCRD U18/MAA Academy team will take on Birmingham City U18 at the Dog & Duck Stadium.
Entry will be with a minimum £2 donation to the Dale Roberts Memorial Fund, there will be a raffle available and of course Dale’s Bar will be open.
Our good friends and sponsors Hart Family Brewers have donated a cask of Dale’s Ale for the game which will be sold in Dale’s Bar at the bargain price of £2.50 per pint.
As usual all donations, raffle monies and money raised from the sale of Dale’s Ale will be donated to the Dale Roberts Memorial Fund.
Birmingham City U18s have won their last three games and sit in second place in The Professional Development League Two North. They have beaten, Cardiff City, Sheffield Wednesday, QPR, Millwall and Ipswich this season. Whereas Diamonds are unbeaten in all competitive games, albeit in a lower division, except the 5-0 defeat to Bugbrooke in The FA Youth Cup last month.
AFCRD U18/MAA Academy coach Darren Purse is excited to see how his boys from a much lower division fairs against a good Birmingham side. He said: “I know Craig, who’s bringing the Birmingham lads over and he said he’s bringing a mix of first years and second years so it’ll be interesting to see how they get on. It’ll be a big test for us and hopefully they’ll take it in good heart no matter what the result is. I am expecting them to do well in the game on Sunday.”
Despite not playing Cleveland Juniors this year, Diamonds will be looking to retain the Memorial Cup following a 6-1 victory last season. It was the first time Diamonds had won the trophy following a 3-1 defeat the season before, and a 3-2 loss the first time the cup was competed at Raunds Town. Purse said about the occasion: “We’ve got to remember what and why we’re playing for and what it’s all about. At the end of the day, it’s still a football match that I would like to win and hopefully we will be on the winning side at the end of the game.”
Purse admitted that he doesn’t know how his team will fair in-front of a much bigger crowd compared to what they’re used to. “Obviously it’s going to be a big test of character for them, they have to be put into this situation to see how they react. I’m trying to prepare these players for the first team, they’ve got to expect to play in-front of a few hundred, maybe even a thousand fans. So they’ll have to get used to that and it’s part of their learning curve.” He continued: “They’ve found games easy this season but this will be much tougher for them. It will probably be the hardest game they’ve played all season but hopefully they won’t let the people who come and watch was, down.”
Purse also said that he will be looking for his side to improve from their last match despite an 8-3 victory. He was disappointed that his team lost respect towards the opposition towards the end of the match. See report here. “I told the boys at my first game, I hate losing and I like keeping cleans sheets because that’s the defender in me. We’ve worked on set pieces since our last game so of course, I’ll be disappointed if we concede from one again. I’ll have 16 or 17 lads to choose from but Yusuf is still injured and Barnes won’t be involved because of his concussion on Monday.”