Academy boss Welsh bursts with pride after Youth Cup win

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Ilkeston FC academy coach Steve Welsh was left bursting with pride on Wednesday night after seeing the Robins reach the third round of the FA Youth Cup and secure a home tie with Newcastle United.

Welsh guided his side to a 4-1 win over Shrewsbury Town, the second academy attached to a League One club that Ilkeston have knocked out in the competition

And the 47-year-old Scot says his young players are continuing to put the club as a whole on the map.

He said: “I was proud of the victory but most of all with the manner of it. I don’t think anybody could deny we were worthy victors.

“We’ve got a great bunch of lads and having been to watch Shrewsbury play we knew they are a good side but we had a game plan and it worked for us.

“It’s fantastic for the football club as not many non-league cteams get this far.”

Ilkeston fell behind early on to a Chris Gallagher penalty but two goals from Lewis Walker and efforts from skipper Ryan Head and sub Mason Barlow saw the Robins bounce back in style.

Welsh added: “I said to the players that if we make a mistake, I’m not bothered, it’s about how we respond. I won’t accept a lack of effort but I know I don’t have to worry about that with these boys.

“We’ve had lots of different challenges on this cup run and this time we’ve had to come back from a goal down against a very good side, who may have had an off night but we capitalised on it.”

Welsh only joined the New Manor Ground ranks earlier this season but says he hasn’t been surprised by the quality of squad he’s inherited.

He added: “I’d been here before as an opposition coach with Boston and we always had good, close games with good football being played.

“When I joined the club there were a couple of things I felt needed a bit of refining but we’ve worked hard on our game management and the results are there to see.”

Ilkeston will now host the under-18s side from Premier League club Newcastle United in round three, the match due to be played on Wednesday, December 16.

And Welsh hopes a big crowd will be present to see just what the Robins have to offer.

He said: “I’ve been to the third round once before and it’s a great place to be but this is an incredible draw, one of the best we could have hoped for.

“Purely from a selfish point of view it would have been great to go to St James’s Park but if we market this game well then we can hopefully get the big audience these lads deserve.

“It’ll be a very tough game of course but it’ll showcase to everyone what not only our academy but also the whole club is about given how young our first team is, so it’s a fantastic draw and an important night for Ilkeston FC.”