FORMER York City legend Andy McMillan reckons Tadcaster Albion stand a chance of causing an FA Youth Cup shock at Bootham Crescent on Wednesday night.

The non-League neighbours, whose first teams have never been closer in the English football pyramid with only one division now separating them, will see their under-18 sides meet for a 7pm kick-off and McMillan, now a coach with Albion’s i2i Academy, has stressed that the visitors are looking forward to a “massive challenge” when local pride will be at stake.

Many of the home players were recruited by McMillan prior to him leaving the Minstermen’s academy two years ago, so he knows the quality of the opposition.

But the former 1993 Wembley winner, who only trails Barry Jackson in the all-time City appearances list, will find himself in the unfamiliar position of being in the away camp next week, along with fellow former Bootham Crescent favourites Michael Ingham, Richard Cresswell and Jonathan Greening.

The quartet now head up the i2i Academy’s overseas department, which brings in players from the USA on football scholarships, but the focus will switch to domestic issues this week as City pit their skills against a Tadcaster team who, as part of their partnership with York College, lifted the English Colleges National FA Cup at Walsall’s Bescott Stadium last season and reached the final of the English Schools FA Under-18s National Cup at Doncaster Rovers.

Ronaldo Vieira, meanwhile, has become one of the most-coveted teenagers in English football, having graduated from the i2i Academy into Leeds United’s first team, before scoring the Three Lions’ winning penalty in this summer’s under-20 Toulon Tournament final victory over Ivory Coast.

Another ex-Albion youth-team talent Alfie Beestin is also establishing himself at League One Doncaster, where he has made ten appearances including a goal-scoring debut against Mansfield.

City, meanwhile, can call on the services of highly-rated striker Ryan Edmondson, who is understood to be interesting Championship outfit Derby, following the likes of former team-mates Sam Fielding and Gabby McGill in attracting second-tier interest.

Fielding is believed to be on the verge of a move to Barnsley having turned down terms with the Minstermen in the summer and McGill, the son of City chairman Jason, moved to Middlesbrough last month.

Ahead of Wednesday’s intriguing clash, McMillan said: “Playing at Bootham Crescent will be a massive game for the Taddy lads and they are looking forward to the challenge of taking on a Category Three academy. It’s a derby with local pride at stake.

“A lot of the Taddy lads are from York so it will be a big night for them and who wins that first tackle or gets that first goal could be very important.

“We have some good players at Taddy and the academy’s philosophy will always be to get the ball down and play, but I brought a lot of the players to York and I know there are some good players in there – two or there who could become pros – so it will be a tough game.

“It’s a one-off match, though, so a win is achievable and I think it will come down to who handles the pitch, environment and occasion the best on the night.

“When I was with the academy at York, we always tried to get the lads on the pitch at Bootham Crescent to get used to it, because there is a mental aspect to playing in a stadium, rather than at the training ground.”

Having become part of the i2i team last month, McMillan also believes the opportunity is there for the current batch of under-18 players to emulate the likes of Vieira and Beestin, with the group’s York St John University partnership providing an environment for youngsters to flourish and fulfil their potential.

McMillan added: “The i2i academy brand is getting bigger and bigger and the players are getting better and better, as is the recruitment, so there’s always that chance for our lads to get noticed by professional clubs.

“At 16 or 17, it can become more difficult but, if you look at Ronnie and Alfie, the evidence is there that it can happen and scouts watch all sorts of games these days to get lads in from all over.

“Ronnie might prove a one-off but, if you operate like a Category Two of Three Academy, there’s no reason why more players can’t be produced of professional standard.

“They don’t have that Football League status, but they are trying to emulate everything that you would expect from a Category Two of Three academy.

“The facilities at St John’s would definitely be the envy of many Category Three clubs with two full-sized 4G pitches, an indoor Futsal court, four grass pitches, a full-size gym, changing rooms and analysis, education and meeting rooms. It is an unbelievable partnership.”