Youths Up For The Cup

WEST HAM UNITED take on Gillingham this evening in the FA Youth Cup Third Round at Priestfield Stadium. The Hammers won the competition in 1999 and will be hoping for a good performance tonight in their first game of this season's FA Youth Cup.

Here three members of Tony Carr's squad - Chris Cohen, Mark Noble and Moses Ashikodi - give their views on tonight's game.

Born: Norwich
Date of Birth: March 5th 1987
Position: Midfield
Joined West Ham United: July 1st 2003
First-Team Debut: December 13th 2003 v Sunderland (h)

"I'm really looking forward to the FA Youth Cup. It's a big competition for the young players and hopefully we can put on a good performance at Gillingham and go a long way in the competition.  Of course, my main goal is to push into the first-team and I was really pleased to make the bench at Sunderland, especially having been out of the picture for a while.

But I really enjoy playing in the youth-team. A lot of my mates are in there and the FA Youth Cup is a great experience for young players. Often at the smaller clubs young players play more first-team football, so we're expecting Gillingham to be an experienced side. I don't know a lot about them, but I'm sure they'll work very hard and give us a really tough game. We've got a lot of excellent players though, and going forward I think we're a handful for any team at youth level."

Born: East London
Date of Birth: May 8th 1987
Position: Midfield
Joined West Ham United: July 1st 2003
First-Team Debut: August 24th 2004 v Southend United (h)

"I can't wait for the game. I'm really up for it, as are all the lads, and it should be a great occasion. We've got some quality players in the youth-team and everyone is confident that we can get a good result against Gillingham. But they'll be a tough side and we aren't taking anything for granted. They'll be at home, which is bound to give them a bit of an edge, and I'm sure they'll work very hard as well. But going forward we've got some really good flair players and I'm sure we'll cause them problems.

No one has been told the team yet, and everyone is just waiting to find out if they'll be involved. It's a tense time because everyone wants to play, but the squad is really excited and hopefully we can go out and get a good result."

Born: Lagos, Nigeria
Date of Birth: June 27th 1987
Position: Striker
Joined West Ham United: August 3rd 2004

"The Youth Cup Third Round will be a big occasion for the young players at the Club, and everyone connected with the Academy are really looking forward to it. I missed last season's competition with Millwall through injury, although I did play in it two seasons ago, so I know what to expect and I'm looking forward to a good game.

These type of cup games are always very tough. Form doesn't count for a whole lot and whoever works hardest and wants it most on the night will probably win. We've just got to stay focused, play to our strengths and hopefully will get a positive result."

Gillingham v West Ham United at Priestfield Stadium, kick-off 7.00pm.

Courtesy Tony Fowles, Ironworks Gazette