Hugill draws on Black Cats experience
Manchester United striker Joe Hugill is looking to take his previous FA Youth Cup experience into Wednesday's tie at Salford City.
The 19:00 GMT kick-off is live on MUTV, as Neil Ryan's youngsters finally get the 2020/21 FA Youth Cup campaign up and running, following a delay due to ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
With a home game against Liverpool or Sutton United awaiting the victors, everything is set up for a tasty tie at the Peninsula Stadium.
Hugill, still only 17, has been playing mainly for the Under-23s in his first season with the Reds, and leads our scoring charts with 10 goals.
But the centre-forward, who has six United goals against Liverpool already to his name, played for Ryan's boys in the 1-0 victory over the Merseysiders at the weekend, when fellow striker Charlie McNeill hit the only goal of the game.
Hugill scored a hat-trick for former club Sunderland in a 5-2 third-round victory over Shrewsbury Town in November 2019, while still a schoolboy, and also played in the fourth round, against Birmingham City.
Mention of the game brings back happy memories for the Durham-born danger-man: "Obviously, it's a big competition and it wasn't my age group, as I was an Under-16 at the time. So it was quite big for me to even be playing in it back then. It was quite a bobbly pitch and a wet, dark night in the stadium, but then getting the hat-trick was massive for me as a player.
“We had a tough start to the Birmingham game in the next round but I got an assist, which was a decent achievement as well.
“It's the biggest competition for that age group and you want to win every game and go as far as you can in it. It's a massive competition for United as well and, being one of the big boys as well, we aim to win everything.”
Midfielders Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal are also looking forward to the prospect of beginning the cup campaign on Wednesday.
"Hopefully, we can get through Salford," said Savage. "It'll be a tough game and we can't under-estimate them but hopefully we'll get through and face Liverpool after that.
“I think Neil Ryan has stressed to us why this is a special competition and I don't think we've won it since 2011. We're top of the league and doing quite well so we'll take that momentum into the Youth Cup and try to impress.
“I wouldn't say there's pressure with us being top of the table. We don't think too much about that, [we] just take each game as it comes and try to perform well in each game."
Iqbal added: “I think if we can just focus on the game, the 90 minutes and focusing on winning then I don't feel we have to worry about stuff like any hype around the game. I was on the bench for the semi-final last year and, although I didn't get on, it was good experience and hopefully we can go further and win the actual cup and bring it back home.
“We're 100 per cent ready. We've been waiting and can finally go at it and give it our best shot. I think we'll show what we can do and hope to proceed to the next round.”