Second-year scholar Fabio Tavares says the Youth Team are confident heading into their FA Youth Cup second round tie.
Dale face MK Dons at the Crown Oil Arena on Monday night, having beaten Doncaster Rovers in the first round.
Tavares says the 3-0 win at the Keepmoat Stadium has filled them with confidence heading into the game.
“It was a good win which we needed,” said Tavares.
“We’re really excited and confident going into Monday, thinking that we’re going to win.
“We knew we had to get the win and it’s helped to settle the nerves going into the second round.
“Now that we’re playing at home, we’ve got that advantage, and we want to show that we’re working hard to try and win the game.”
Last year, Dale were beaten 1-0 by Accrington Stanley in the first round of the competition.
Although it was a disappointing night, Tavares thinks the experience has helped the squad going into this year.
“Last year I was nervous, because I knew it was a big game and we had to step up, but that wasn’t the case on the day.
“This year, the nerves weren’t as bad because I’d already experienced it, so I knew if I kept myself calm and collected then I was going to go out there and play well.”
Tavares was one of nine current Academy players or graduates that were in the matchday squad for Wednesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy game against Leicester City Under-21s.
It is the second time this season Tavares has been named in a first-team matchday squad, something he hopes will benefit the Youth Team on Monday night.
“Playing or being the squad for a night game, with a lot of fans coming, it’s prepared me for what’s going to come on Monday.
“As a second-year, you want to be around the first-team, because I know the manager gives everyone a chance to prove themselves.
“Being around the squad and around some first-team players is good, because being around the likes of Calvin Andrew and Aaron Wilbraham, they are always encouraging you to enjoy it, most importantly, and to play well. They tell you not to worry about anyone else, just you doing your job for the team.”
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