DERBY County academy manager Darren Wassall says a home tie against Manchester City is a “fantastic reward” for his victorious Under-18s.
The youngsters beat Ipswich Town 3-2 at Pride Park on Wednesday night in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup, a competition that has seen its share of future stars take their first steps along the road to glory.
The day after his namesake James Hanson was sending Bradford City to the League Cup final, Jamie Hanson earned his side their own modest success with a superb late winer.
Earlier, midfielders Rhys Shape and Andy Dales had got themselves on the scoresheet in a thrilling encounter, and Wassall admitted his side needed “quality” and “resilience” to progress.
He said: “We’re delighted to get through and we feel we deserved to win the game overall, but we made hard work of it in the first half.
“In the first 25 minutes we struggled to get going, but once we got back level we controlled the game and although Ipswich equalised just before the break we felt we had enough about us to go on and win the game.
“The second half was a much tighter contest but we had the better of the chances and Jamie Hanson’s free-kick was good enough to win any game; it was a great strike.
“We needed a bit of everything to win the game; that bit of quality to get come out on top but also plenty of resilience to win the game.
“We’re glad we’re through and a fifth round tie against Manchester City at Pride Park is a fantastic reward for the players.
“It’ll be a big test but it’s a great chance for our lads to pit their wits against some of the best young talent in not only England, but Europe as well.
“Manchester City have great financial resources to buy any young player and we’re under no illusions of how big the challenge will be, but we’ll really looking forward to it.”
There was a surprise name on the Rams’ teamsheet for the game, with first-team regular Will Hughes making a cameo appearance from the bench for the final 20 minutes.
Wassall said: “Will is technically still a second year scholar so he’s eligible to play, and it was a great boost for everyone to have him in the squad.
“He showed his class and we were delighted to have him involved, and we’d like to thank the Gaffer for making him available and Will’s attitude was different class as well.”