Penalty hero Jimmy Corcoran hoping to help Preston North End reach quarter-finals of FA Youth Cup

Jimmy Corcoran warming-up with the Preston squad before the New Year's Day game at Rotherham
Jimmy Corcoran warming-up with the Preston squad before the New Year's Day game at Rotherham

Preston North End’s Under-18s will be aiming to reach the last eight of the FA Youth Cup when they face Bury on Friday night at Deepdale.

The Lilywhites kids have beaten Charlton Athletic and Norwich City to reach this stage, both clubs boasting a higher category of academy than PNE.

Preston youth team goalkeeper Jimmy Corcoran in action against Norwich City in the FA Youth Cup

Preston youth team goalkeeper Jimmy Corcoran in action against Norwich City in the FA Youth Cup

Norwich are a category-one academy but North End beat them 3-0 on a snowy night at Deepdale last month with goals from Adam O’Reilly, Lewis Earl and Louis Potts.

In December’s third-round clash with Charlton, Preston won on penalties after the game has finished 2-2.

Goalkeeper Jimmy Corcoran saved two spot-kicks in the shoot-out that night and the Irish starlet is enjoying the cup run.

Corcoran is a first-year scholar with North End and has played for the Republic of Ireland at Under-17s.

Like several others in the youth team, he has experienced training with the first team this season.

Looking ahead to the clash with Bury, Corcoran told the Post: “They are in our league and we know it will be a tough game.

“But if we play as well on the night as we know we can do, we will give ourselves a good chance.

“We played very well in the last round against Norwich.

“In that game we had a very young back four – we had an Under-16 at left-back and two first years at centre-half, so to keep a clean sheet against a category-one side was great.”

Corcoran, who turned 17 last week, was spotted by PNE playing in Dublin.

He came over to train a few times before starting his scholarship last summer.

“I come from Meath, out in the country, and a couple of years ago I signed for Cherry Orchard,” said Corcoran.

“It meant a lot of travelling on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for training and games, so I’ve a lot to thank my parents for.

“A Preston scout over in Ireland saw me play and they offered me a contract.”

The winners of Friday night's clash (7pm) have a home tie against either Liverpool or Wigan Athletic in the last eight.

Season ticket holders from both clubs can get in free to the game, while it is £4 for adults on the turnstiles, £2 concessions and free for Under-11s when accompanied by an adult.

Bury's youth team coach is former PNE defender Ryan Kidd who was part of North End's Second Division title-winning side in the 1999/2000 season.