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Darren Powell reveals the U15s to watch before cup final v Wigan tonight

3 May 2019

Crystal Palace have sent an Under-15 squad to Walsall where they will face the biggest clash of their season as they vie to win the National Floodlight Cup final against a strong Wigan Athletic outfit this evening.

The Academy team excelled earlier in the year at Aldershot's EBB Stadium by defeating Chelsea 3-0 to win the Regional cup and earn themselves a spot in the National final.

It's the first time that Palace have reached this stage in the competition and we spoke with Head Coach Darren Powell to preview the clash and bring you fully up to speed on all you need to know.

Tactics against the Latics

"They're a hard-working team that play an almost 4-4-1-1 and it's going to be difficult to break them down. They're compact, they're organised and they're a hard-working northern-like team.

"We'll try to get on the ball and the formation we're playing should allow us to get on the ball and try to penetrate them. If not, we'll try to use the width of the pitch to deliver balls into the box."

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Who to watch

"We've got a couple of lads to be fair. We've got Jadan Raymond who represents the country. To be fair, he's been playing for Wales and England because at this age you've got to rubber stamp down what nationality you can represent. Jadan Raymond will be one to look out for, Fionn Mooney as well, he's a midfielder who plays as a No.10. And Victor Akinwale who's our No.9 and probably our strongest goal threat.

"At the back, Ryan Bartley who's playing up with the Under-16s and is our captain at the back. There are a few boys you can look out for."

How the lads will prepare

"To be fair, they would have played in pressurised games in terms of the group games and even getting into the competition. There's pressure throughout which is a good thing. You have to qualify first, qualify for the group stages and then obviously get out of the group stages and get to where we are now so there have been a lot of pressurised games.

"To be fair, all I'll say to them is 'work hard, express yourselves and play as well as you can.' With the players that we've got, if they're on it we should win the game. It's not going to be easy because Wigan will be thinking the same thing."

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The winning feeling

"It's not for me it's for the boys. They've experienced a taste of it against Chelsea when we did well and beat them 3-0. We're just halfway in the journey but now they should be relishing it, if they can't drive themselves for this then there have to be questions. I think they've had a taste of it and now it's the nationals. We've not got here before at Palace so they could be the first to do it and they usually turn up for big games so it'll be good to see.

"Up against Chelsea we were underdogs and we'd played them twice in the group stages where we lost to them narrowly so we said it's going to be third time lucky. The boys with a few absentees from the team did well to beat Chelsea in the final 3-0. It was a massive thing but now we want to go one step further."

You can follow how Palace's next generation fare live as with our live stream by heading to Palace TV tonight from 7.30pm. Simply click here or 'Palace TV' in the official app. Kick off is at 7.45pm. 

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