Carr up for cup

Tony Carr's Under-18 side are preparing for their FA Youth Cup third-round tie on Wednesday evening. 

The U18s will be buoyed by a recent surge in form, having lost just once in their last eight FA Premier Academy League matches. A 3-1 victory over second-placed Norwich City on Saturday at Little Heath will have only added to the good spirits - you can see Cristian Montano's stunning clincher for free on the homepage video player.

Carr and his side will be especially eager to put in a good showing at Home Park because the club have been knocked out at the first hurdle in each of the last two seasons. Last December, the Hammers were frozen out 3-1 by Nottingham Forest on a wintry night at the City Ground, while Bolton Wanderers beat Carr's youngsters at the Boleyn Ground in 2007/08.

The Academy Director said: "We can see it as just another game, but the FA Youth Cup has assumed an important position in the calendar, with the added incentive of the final being screened live on Sky television. It has a bit of kudos about it and boys want to do well in the competition.

"Most of our matches are played on training grounds, so the opportunity to play on a main stadium like we will at Home Park next week is a big one for all of the lads.

"The Plymouth game probably represents the furthest we have ever travelled for a youth-team fixture, and there is a real buzz among the squad ahead of it.

Carr is expected to name a strong side with several youngsters who have featured for the reserves this season set to figure.

"We'll take a 20-man squad down there and everyone can be involved in the experience, which will be valuable for all of them. It's going to be a great occasion.

"We're all looking forward to the game and will treat the game with the utmost of respect and hopefully we can get into the next round."

Plymouth have enjoyed good runs in the tournament in each of the last two seasons, reaching the fifth round last term before being knocked out by Tottenham Hotspur. Two years ago, the Pilgrims progressed to the quarter-final stage before being beaten by eventual winners Manchester City.

The young Hammers, who won the competition in 1963, 1981 and 1999, will kick-off at Home Park at 7pm and will have live text updates.