Colchester United’s under-18s could find themselves back in this season’s FA Youth Cup and facing a quarter-final against the young guns of Premier League giants Arsenal.

The U’s youngsters had been knocked out of the competition after a 4-1 fifth round defeat by Reading, but the Royals could be removed from the competition after fielding an ineligible player against the U’s.

At a meeting at Wembley on Thursday, the FA Youth Cup Sub-Committee upheld a charge issued to Reading which recognised a breach of the FA Youth Cup’s rule 15 (j).

The finding of that meeting means the Royals have been eliminated and Colchester have been reinstated, but the Championship club are deciding whether to appeal against the committee’s decision.

Reading said in a statement on their club website that the FA’s full reasoning behind the decision would be issued to them before 4pm on Friday and they would, at that stage, consider an appeal.

If they decide to appeal, it must be lodged before 4pm on February 19 and submitted in full before 4pm February 20.

The breach of the competition rules came about as Reading inadvertently fielded an under-age player in the game at the Weston Homes Community Stadium earlier this month.

As part of their starting line-up, they included 15-year-old Imari Samuels at left-back.

According to the competition’s regulations, all players who compete in the FA Youth Cup must have turned 15 before midnight on August 31 of the current season, and Samuels was only 14 years of age at this cut off point.

Reading acknowledged the error once it was realised and informed the FA of the situation the day after the fifth round match The club statement said: “Upon realising our unintentional mistake the following morning, the club were proactive in making immediate contact with the FA to make them aware of the administrative error and unreservedly apologise.”

The statement went on to say that the Royals had asked the FA if the tie against the U’s could be replayed – in the same way that a game was in a similar situation in the 2015/16 season – however, the Fa have initially said that Reading should be removed from this season’s FA Youth Cup and Colchester United re-instated.

If the U’s are placed back in the competition, they will face Arsenal’s under-18s in the quarter-finals.