Rotherham United Under 18s are gearing up for a crucial Youth Alliance Cup quarter final clash with Preston North End on Saturday.
The Millers have reached the final in two of the last four seasons, but were edged out on both occasions by Milton Keynes Dons and AFC Wimbledon in 2023 and 2020 respectively.
The current crop of youngsters cropped their Youth Alliance Cup group with four victories from four over Bolton Wanderers, Notts County, Shrewsbury Town and Walsall to set up the meeting with the Lilywhites, who sit second in Youth Alliance League North West Division.
Academy Manager Richard Hairyes is under no illusions about the scale of the challenge against North End, but is hoping the U18s can take a big step towards getting their hands on the trophy at last.
“It would be nice if we could get over the last hurdle, Hairyes told www.themillers.co.uk.
“We’ve got to the final twice in the last four seasons and we’re hoping this is the year we can take that final step.
“However, we know that Preston are a really good side and we’ll go into the game as underdogs.
"They are towards the top of their division and a really well run club, so we know it’ll be a tough game for us."