Norfolk Under-18s looking for FA County Youth Cup glory

Norfolk's U18s squad for their semi-final win. Picture: Oliver Harrison.

Norfolk's U18s squad for their semi-final win. Picture: Oliver Harrison. - Credit: Archant

The rising stars of local football carry the Norfolk flag on Saturday in the final of the FA County Youth Cup.

Adam Gusterson's Under 18s take on their Staffordshire counterparts at the bet365 Stadium, home of Premier League Stoke City.

The host county sealed their place in the final last month with a 5-2 victory away at Berks & Bucks.

Norfolk's 3-1 victory over Gloucestershire in their semi-final earned them their shot at glory in what is a repeat of the County Youth Cup final in 2011 – when Norfolk ran out as winners. They had previously beaten the likes of Jersey, Northumberland and then the Isle of Man.

The squad travelled on Friday and spent the afternoon training at Derby County before relaxing ahead of kick-off.

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'It's a great opportunity for the lads to be involved in a such a big game,' said Gusterson.

'They have done the county proud by reaching the final and now it is very much a case of focusing on the job in hand, which is to beat Staffordshire and bring the trophy back to Norfolk.

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'We have shown all the qualities a side needs to win a cup competition on our run so far and I think the boys can draw strength from the fact they have shown physical and mental strength in abundance in our quarter- and semi-final extra-time wins against the Isle of Man and Gloucestershire.

'Nothing changes from our perspective in terms of our approach and I am safe in the knowledge that we have a squad that has the mentality to handle big games and will therefore put in a performance worthy of the occasion.

'For a county of our size to win the FA County Youth Cup, a prestigious national competition, would be incredible and the boys are just one game away from achieving that feat.'

The County Youth Cup is open to U18 players who are born or registered for a club in their county. But players who are under written contract at a club are ineligible.

The match kicks off at 2pm and admission to the Q-railing Stand on the day is £5 for adults and £1 for U16s. Turnstiles will open at 12.30pm.

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