First Team 22/01/2019

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See an alternative view of Watford v Burnley, January 19, 2019.

Photo credit: Sol Tomlinson.

Under-18's 22/01/2019

Herts Senior Cup: Bishop's Stortford Preview

By Kevin Affleck

Watford’s Academy will look to add to their growing reputation as cup specialists when they take on Bishop’s Stortford tonight for a place in the last four of the Herts Senior Challenge Cup.

Head of Academy Darren Sarll has fielded an Under-18 side in the first two rounds and his faith in his teenagers was rewarded with 1-0 wins over Potters Bar Town and Leverstock Green. 

The same group of players have also made significant progress in the FA Youth Cup, securing upsets against Birmingham and Southampton to set up a fifth-round tie with Ipswich Town.

Confidence is therefore sky-high in the squad and Sarll is looking forward to taking his side to the ProKit Stadium and seeing what they are made of.

“We like these competitions,” said the former Stevenage boss. “It’s a good time for us at the moment. We are enjoying our run in the Herts Cup and we are giving the players real ownership when it comes to this competition. We want to do well in it and develop that winning mentality that you need when you go and play senior football.” 

Harry Hudson celebrates scoring against Potters Bar Town

Sarll admitted he might need to shuffle his pack and perhaps bring in a few of the young professionals on the club’s books as the Under-18s’ resources were stretched to the limit against Southampton in the FA Youth Cup on Thursday night.

The likes of Harry Hudson and Ben Tricker should still feature and the teenage defenders could conceivably find themselves up against Jamie Cureton, the 43-year-old striker who is joint player-manager of the Swifts. Cureton and his experienced team will know every trick in the book in how to deal with Sarll’s whippersnappers.

“Men never allow boys just to walk past,” said Sarll. “They’ll put their foot in and provide you with a different test. Set-pieces will be a real test for us, but this is all part of their development. We have got to be the team who tries and picks their way through and play with intelligence, but most of all it’s further exposure for these lads of senior football.”

Stortford are 14th in the Isthmian Premier Division, the seventh tier of English football, and lost 4-3 at Tonbridge Angels on Saturday. They beat Welwyn Garden City and Baldock Town in the previous round and won the last meeting between the two sides 5-1, in 2017.


Bishop’s Stortford v Watford, 7.45pm KO.

Dunmow Road,
Bishop’s Stortford
CM23 5RG

Ticket prices:

Adults: £5
Concessions: £3