COLCHESTER United under-18 lead coach Chris Llewellyn has urged his youngsters to make the most of their second chance when they take on Arsenal in their FA Youth Cup tonight.

A semi-final spot is at stake at the Weston Homes Community Stadium (kick-off 7pm) after the U’s were handed a reprieve in the competition to progress to the last eight.

Colchester were beaten 4-1 by Reading in their fifth-round tie, last month.

But the U’s were reinstated after the Royals were removed from the tournament by the FA for fielding an under-age player – and Llewellyn wants his youngsters to spring a surprise against the Gunners.

Llewellyn told the Daily Gazette: “It doesn’t really matter how we got there and it’s not just a free game.

“It’s a game we want to win and anything can happen.

“It’s going to be a big thing, to pit your wits against one of the biggest and best academies in the country.

“The lads have done great to get this far but it’s something we want to go and win.

“Hopefully there will be a big crowd there to watch and Arsenal are a top club who will have potential future Premier League stars in their team.

“We’ve done our homework on them and we’re looking forward to it.”

Colchester’s home tie against Arsenal will be their sixth game under the Community Stadium lights, in this season’s FA Youth Cup.

“The lads are looking forward to it,” said former Swansea City under-21 coach Llewellyn.

“We knew a little while after the Reading game that something might happen but we focused on our league games until it was actually confirmed.

“But all of the talk has been about the Arsenal game and it’s a quarter-final.

“We have the experience of the Reading game to fall back on.

“We were 1-0 up in that game but conceded just before half-time.

“Had we gone in at half-time ahead, we might have gone on to win the game ourselves.

“The boys have done well and they do deserve this opportunity.

“The more games that we play at this level, the more we learn.”

It had looked as though some of the current Colchester under-18 squad had played their final game for the club against Reading, with some youngsters set to be released.

But Llewellyn says they will get another chance to shine for the U’s against Arsenal.

He added: “They are all back in now.

“We’ve tried to be fair to them and if they don’t have a career at Colchester United, we want them to have the opportunity to go and get one elsewhere.

“They want to play and we will be true to our word.”