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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Kevin Sheedy wants Everton Under-18s to improve on last season's FA Youth Cup performance and overcome Arsenal or Charlton Athletic when they meet in next month's quarter-finals.

Goals from Courtney Duffus and Gethin Jones saw the Young Blues book a place in the last eight on Monday courtesy of a 2-0 win at Sheffield United.

Last season, Everton reached the same stage of the competition before exiting to eventual winners Norwich City.

And while he was pleased with certain aspects of his side's performance at Bramall Lane, Sheedy has challenged his players to up their game for whichever London side lies ahead.

Speaking to evertontv, the former winger said: "We stressed to the players after the game that we'll be coming up against the big boys now and if we perform like we did in the second half against Sheffield United then we'll concede goals.

"But we'll learn from tonight and we're looking forward to the next round, whether it be Arsenal or Charlton.

"We know it will be a difficult tie but we got to the quarter-finals last year and we want to go better this year."

Everton went ahead in Sheffield six minutes before the break thanks to a fine solo effort from striker Duffus.

A Jones penalty then put Sheedy's side in control eight minutes into the second half, and despite a late Blades rally, the visitors held on.

"We knew it was going to be a very tough game and we knew that they'd be very competitive," said Sheedy. "We did our homework on them beforehand and I was really pleased with how we started the game. In the first 25 minutes we used the ball really well and moved it around like we can.  

"We said if we could get the second goal early in the second half it would take the sting out of the game. We managed to do that and it was a good penalty from Gethin, which he tucked away nicely. It killed the game really.

"To be fair to Sheffield United they kept going and we were disappointed we didn't play the ball around in the second half like we had in the first. But we kept a clean sheet and overall we're delighted to get through to the next round."

On Duffus - who was joined on the pitch by younger brother Tyrone - Sheedy added: "It was a great individual goal from Courtney to give us the lead.

"It will give him loads of confidence. It's what we know he can do and we want to see more of that."

Charlton and Arsenal's fifth round clash will take place at The Valley on Friday.

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