‘Everyone writes us off’ – Chris Perry urges Millwall U18 side to thrive on underdog mentality in Leeds FA Youth Cup semi-final

Millwall U18 joint-manager Chris Perry is expecting a tougher FA Youth Cup test for his side on Thursday when they travel up to Elland Road to take on Leeds United for a spot in the final.

The young Lions – who hold a category two academy award – are looking to secure their spot in the final of the prestigious academy competition for the first time since the 1993-94 season.

Perry, with joint-manager Larry McAvoy, will take their side to Leeds, who are a category one academy alongside the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

Millwall came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with a Chelsea side that boasts the likes of Michael Golding and Tyrique George – two players who are tipped for a bright future with the Blues – at The Den in the quarter-finals, with a 4-2 penalty shootout win booking their place in the last four.

Leeds knocked out four-time winners Liverpool with a 3-1 win at home in the last round.

“It’s a really tough test,” former Wimbledon and Charlton defender Perry told the South London Press.

“It will be tougher than Chelsea.

“We used to play Leeds in our league – they only moved up two or three seasons ago. Those games were always tough.

“With the performance against Liverpool, they were outstanding on the night. The result flattered Liverpool – they could have scored four, five or six.

“It’s a game we’re looking forward to and a game where we’re going in as underdogs, which is such an important thing for us.

“We can really play on that because all the pressure will be on them. They are going to have lost of fans there – there are rumours they have sold up to eight or nine thousand tickets already.

“Everyone writes us off. We go into every game with people thinking: ‘What are they going to be like? Are they going to play football?’

“And we go out there and prove people wrong all the time. The boys have a great mentality and they thrive off that.

“It will be interesting to see how they deal with the big crowd – it will certainly be the biggest they have played in front of – but hopefully being the away team with a little bit of siege mentality, we can really produce.”

Millwall have knocked out Barking FC, Grimsby Town, Coventry and Chelsea to get to this stage.

“Josh Stephenson for us has been outstading as a centre-back and a captain for us this season,” added Perry.

“He has played up a lot in the U21s and has become a real leader this season – he’s one to watch.

“In the midfield side of the game, you have Jack Howland, who is an incredibly talented wide player. He looks really slight on the pitch – doesn’t look like he can affect the game – but has 21 goals and nine assists this season.

“He’s a fantastic talent.

“Kavalli Heywood is our leading scorer with 26 goals and 11 assists – he’s been sensational for us this season. We lost Frankie Baker early in the season, and he was doing really well – the pair of them together would have been a real handful.

“Kavalli has had to step up and take the leadership role. He has thrived on it.”

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.