Fans will have the chance to see Hyde United’s exciting youth team in action on Friday (Oct 9) thanks to a spirited gesture from opponents Stockport County.
The Hatters, struggling to host the FA Youth Cup, second qualifying round tie, agreed to surrender home advantage.
Had the match gone ahead at Edgeley Park, fans would not have been able to attend at County are a National League side.
But with the game at Ewen Fields, kick off 7.45pm, and with admission only £3 for adults and £1 for children, the Tigers are hoping for a decent sized crowd.
Jack Pritchard, Hyde’s youth team manager, said: “Stockport County had a home game on Tuesday and have another on Saturday so couldn’t stage our game which had to be played this week.
“We suggested reversing the fixture which they agreed to, a nice gesture and County were really good about it.
“Our players had been excited at the prospect of playing at Edgeley Park but only players and staff would have been present.
“At Hyde maybe we might get a gate of between 250 and 300 which would be great. Nobody wants to play football without fans.”
While County will be making their entrance in this season’s FA Youth Cup, this will be the Tigers’ third match after a 3-1 win against Runcorn Linnets in the preliminary round and 3-0 victory over Southport in the first qualifying round.
Pritchard describes this as their greatest challenge so far as County’s youngsters play in the National Football Alliance and North West Youth Alliance.
He continued: “It will most definitely be our biggest test, but our lads are relishing the opportunity. Let’s hope it is a great spectacle.
“It is one of the toughest draws at this stage of the competition when it is rare to get a club the size of Stockport.”
While the victory against Southport was inspired by 17-year-old winger Carter Waters, Pritchard is keen to impress they are not a one-player team.
“Carter was unplayable that night but, if Stockport nullify him, we have other weapons and strings to our bow,” he explained.
Captain and central defender Chris Noble, who was in Rochdale’s academy, is a leader at the back while central midfielder Cameron Fogerty, a former Oldham Athletic academy player, is also highly rated.
Pritchard also pointed to centre forward Oli Grey who last season scored 32 goals for the youth team describing him as a predator in the box and hungry to find the net.
If Hyde win, they will be at home to either Skelmersdale United or Prestwich Heys in the third qualifying round which as far as they have been in recent times.
They reached that stage two years ago when Paddy Lane, now a first-team Hyde player, was one of their stars.
Pritchard added: “That team contained more matchwinners, but these players have shown more commitment and drive to go further.
“We set a target to reach the first round proper and, were we to do that, anything after would be a bonus.”