Darren Wassall is looking forward to another 'great night' for his Derby County youngsters
DERBY County Under-18s can look forward to another "great night" at Pride Park Stadium after setting up an FA Youth Cup fifth round clash with Manchester City.
The Rams have earned themselves a third consecutive home tie after victories over Ipswich Town and Gateshead.
Darren Wassall's side beat Ipswich 3-2 on Wednesday night and are now waiting for a date to be set for their showdown against Premier League giants City.
"It's going to be another great night at Pride Park for the players," said Academy manager Wassall.
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"They've had two games here now and they are getting used to the stadium and the surroundings.
"Having had that experience and scored seven goals in the process, they will be really looking forward to the Man City game now.
"It's a great occasion for everyone at the club and, hopefully, it is something the players will relish."
City have so far knocked out Sunderland and Manchester United's conquerors, Burnley.
"I think they have got about four youth teams that they could pick from – but we're very happy with our youth team," said Wassall.
"We're very pleased with the players we've got in the squad and we'll give it our best shot.
"As a player, you want to play against the best, so it's a great opportunity for our players to pit themselves against what should be some of the best young players in England and in Europe."
The young Rams endured a tough first half of the season and the 4-0 win over non-League Gateshead was their first competitive victory of the campaign.
Since then, though, they have claimed their first win in the newly-formed Under-18 Professional Development League Two North – and things are looking up.
"The confidence is high and we know we can create chances. We've just got to shore up a bit at the back, because our performances deserve more wins than we've already had this season," said Wassall.
"We created a lot of chances over the 90 minutes against Ipswich and we know that, as a team, we will always create chances and score goals.
"Unfortunately, our Achilles heel has been conceding too many and we saw again that we can be a little bit vulnerable at the back."
Derby fell behind in the 12th minute against Ipswich but Rhys Sharpe levelled from the penalty spot midway through the half.
Andy Dales put the Rams ahead in first-half stoppage time but Ipswich hit back immediately to send the teams into the break on level terms.
The winning goal came in the 79th minute, when central defender Jamie Hanson netted a superb 25-yard free kick.
"We didn't start very well and could have gone more than one goal behind but we showed a lot of character to stick in there and keep it at 1-0," said Wassall.
"And for the last 25 minutes of the first half, I thought we really dominated the game, created a lot of chances and put Ipswich under a lot of pressure.
"We deservedly went 2-1 up but, unfortunately, we lost concentration and conceded a sloppy goal right on half-time.
"We were disappointed to have let Ipswich back into the game but we started the second half very well.
"The game faded out a bit and could have gone either way but I thought, overall, we just shaded it."
Wassall described match-winner Hanson as a "dead ball specialist" and added: "He can play in numerous positions – right-back, centre-half, midfield – but we've been delighted with his performances at centre-half and he capped off another good one with the winning goal."