Billy Russell says cup victory was down to collective pride in the Hull City shirt
ACADEMY boss Billy Russell credits a collective pride in the Hull City shirt as the inspiration behind the club's march into the last 16 of the FA Youth Cup.
The Tigers continued their encouraging run in the showpiece competition when Matty Dixon's strike earned a hard-fought 1-0 win at Northampton Town on Wednesday night.
A fifth round tie at home to Leicester City now stands between City and a place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1991.
Of the starting XI that won at Northampton this week all barring Northern Ireland under-17s international Eoghan McCawl have grown up with the Tigers since the under-9s group.
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Russell believes that togetherness makes this a special collection and said: "We're very happy with this group.
"They've got a great work ethic, they're all working hard for the good of the club.
"The vast majority of the squad are home-grown lads and they're all desperate to fight for the badge.
"We saw that again on Wednesday night, the commitment of the boys was fantastic."
In a competition that has delivered disappointment in recent times, victories over Swansea and Northampton have given City their best FA Youth Cup run since 2010.
That campaign, one that included the likes of Mark Cullen and Sonny Bradley, brought an eventual fall against Crystal Palace in the fifth round and City will hope to go one better when welcoming Leicester to North Ferriby, a game likely to take place a week tomorrow.
A slice of history could be made with victory over the Foxes and Russell believes the desire shown at Northampton this week will give them a fine chance of progressing.
"We showed a lot of guts to hold out," said Russell, who saw Dixon's sixth-minute strike settle the contest in the face of heavy pressure from their hosts.
"There were times in the game when it was all hands to the pump, but every single player was willing to put their bodies on the line.
"We know we can pass the ball a lot better but for the fight we showed all night, you couldn't fault them.
"You can tell how much the competition means to the lads, it's a very big thing.
"They have parents and family coming along to watch them and they stood up to the pressure very well.
"It's great for their development. Playing at a ground like the Sixfields Stadium and handling the occasion like they did, it can only be a good thing."