THE ACADEMY

13/01/2010 10:32, Report by Nick Coppack
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United in Youth Cup action

The pursuit of FA Youth Cup glory continues this evening as United’s Under-18s travel north to take on Burnley at Turf Moor (kick-off 19:00 GMT).

For 16-year-old striker John Cofie (pictured), likely to be included in Paul McGuinness's travelling squad, it means a return to the club where he began his English football education. Cofie, a German-born Ghanaian striker, arrived at Old Trafford from Burnley in summer 2009.

Despite recent adverse weather conditions in Manchester, McGuinness told MUTV his side has enjoyed some quality preparation ahead of tonight's match.

"We missed our first league game of the year because of the weather but we’ve still been able to train because of the excellent facilities we have at Carrington," he said.

"We have a massive indoor gym and we’ve also played against the Reserves, which was really useful. That was a full-scale match on the pitch the first-team use, which has undersoil heating.

"When you play the Reserves you're up against bigger, stronger and faster opposition than you're used to. It’s a bit like sparring in boxing – when you prepare for a fight you train against bigger and quicker opponents. So it’s been really useful."

The U-18s boss says he expects a tough test against a Burnley side determined to cause an upset.

"Youth Cup ties are like a fight," he said. It’s a battle. Teams are fired up to play Manchester United and I think Burnley will be really pleased that such a big tie will be played at Turf Moor. I know the coaches at Burnley and they’re steeped in the history of the club. They’ll have their boys really fired up but also playing good football – that’s the tradition at Burnley and these guys will instil that into their team."

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