Alex Baird

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

A few days after his 18th birthday last month, Alex Baird got a tattoo on his right forearm with the motto: 'Some people dream of success, others stay awake to achieve it.'

So rather than simply hoping for glory in this season's FA Youth Cup, the Australian goalkeeper is determined to do everything he can to ink Newcastle's name into the history of the competition for the first time since 1985.

The Magpies take on Blackburn in the quarter-finals on Monday night and Wollongong-born Baird has established himself as United's first-choice keeper at under-18 level this term, as well as making his Reserve team debut against Ashington last November, so his hard work is clearly paying off.

After waiting patiently last season for clearance to play for the Magpies following his move from Derby, Baird was given the nod for the opening day win over Chelsea before saving a penalty in the second match of the campaign against Aston Villa. And apart from a month-long absence due to a hernia injury, he's never looked back.

"Last year, it took a while to get my clearance through but now I'm playing and hopefully I can keep on going," he told nufc.co.uk.

"In the league we're top of the table and had a good result against Sunderland at the weekend after Dennis Knight got sent off, but it just shows the character of the team and how we can come back to get results.

"The injury was a very frustrating time - there were a couple of good games that I wanted to play in, like against my old team Derby. I really wanted to play against them but hopefully if things go well I can play against them in a month or two.

"The club's good and everyone's good around the club. We've got a good team spirit so hopefully we can use that and go far in the competition."

So far, United have knocked out Darlington (3-0), Watford (2-1) and Queens Park Rangers (2-1 after extra time) - all at the Sports Direct Arena.

And Baird is hoping for another home victory against Rovers, who beat Stoke 4-0 in the fifth round having previously disposed of Coventry (2-0) and Thurrock (8-0).

"The Darlo game was a comfortable one," he said. "I didn't have to do that much in that game, and the Watford one I thought was sort of the same - I didn't have much to do.

"Against QPR I had a bit more to do and I made a few good saves.

"It's been a good experience and it's always good to get a home tie again. Hopefully we can keep on progressing and go to the semi-finals.

"I want to go as far as we can. It would be good to get to the semi-finals. If we get that far, we'd get Fulham or Burnley but we'll concentrate on this game - Blackburn at home."

Monday's match at the Sports Direct Arena kicks off at 7pm. Admission to the East Stand is by paying at the turnstiles on the night and season ticket holders and Club Members are not entitled to free admission for this tie. Prices are £3 for adults and £1 concessions.

Louis Storey's Youth Cup pen pics