Albion’s youth team have been asked to pretend they are Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

That is just one of the challenges they have faced when training with the first team squad.

Head coach Graham Potter has called in the under-18s to work with the seniors at times this season.

They played the role of City during preparations for the Premier League trip to the Etihad in late August.

There have been regular call-ups to the under-23s for the 18 group and even to the senior squad for the Carabao Cup tie against Aston Villa.

The under-18s are among the leading pack in their league.

They are also through to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup, in which they will visit Derby, thanks to Friday’s 3-2 win over Leicester.

Under-18s boss Mark Beard has seen sidekick Mikey Harris called away to work with England.

He hopes his players catch the eye in similar fashion.

Beard told The Argus: “The main aim for us is to get players in the under-23s and the experience they have had this year is fantastic.

“The three boys – Haydon (Roberts), (Jack) Spong and Ted (Jenks) – playing for the first team in the Carabao Cup is great.

“The gaffer has been brilliant with the lads.

“Even going up and training with them is a great experience and they get to know the levels.

“That’s the aim of it. We want the boys training with the first team, playing with the 23s and, if they’re not with me, they’re not with me.

“They go and train and sometimes they ask us to be the opposition as well. At the start of the season, we took ten players over to be Manchester City.

“We had to play the way Man City play. That in itself is brilliant.

“For one thing, the gaffer and all his staff get to know the boys.

“Secondly, they are getting to play with world class players.”

Despite all that experience, Beard felt his side were nervous early on against Leicester.

They came from a goal down inside a minute to lead 2-1 through a Stefan Vukoje double.

Leicester then equalised through their second penalty and got on top before Vukoje had a big part in the winning goal by Lorent Tolaj.

Even then, Albion had to survive a couple of hectic scrambles before securing the win.

Beard believes his side can play better but was glad to see them grind out the win.

He said: “We didn’t really get any sort of rhythm in the second half but I said to the players that the FA Youth Cup is about getting through to the next round.

“We’ve been playing great football all season, and some of the patterns were there, but the main objective was to win.

“They’ve done that and defended for their lives at the end.”

Many of the under-18s are likely to figure tonight when Albion go to Burgess Hill in the Senior Cup.