A PAIR of teenagers are hoping they are handed an opportunity to help Oxford United get one step closer to Wembley tonight.

Canice Carroll is in line for a start in the Checkatrade Trophy second round tie at Gillingham, while fellow 18-year-old Malachi Napa could come on for his senior debut.

Carroll already knows what it is like to beat the Kent club, having played in United’s 3-0 victory in Sky Bet League One at the Kassam Stadium in September.

Carroll said: “I think the gaffer knows he can trust me.

“I work hard in training every day trying to be the best player I can be to give myself the best chance.

“Gillingham aren’t a bad side football-wise but I feel like I can do it against anyone in the league.

“I’m just hoping this is a good opportunity for me.”

The competition has plenty of critics, but the full back has first-hand experience of the rewards it can bring, having been an unused substitute in last season’s final.

It was the second year in a row United reached the Trophy’s climax and Carroll thinks it owes much to the club’s policy of taking it seriously from the beginning of the season.

He said: “Some people will tend to slack off in it.

“You see those teams waste away and don’t even get through, but then you get to Wembley and it’s a great feeling.

“It was last year going with the squad and just sitting on the bench was a great achievement for me.”

It could be a memorable night for Napa, if he gets on to make his senior bow.

The winger is full of confidence after being recalled from a strong spell on loan at Hampton & Richmond Borough.

He also came back from United’s training camp in Spain last week with an extra spring in his step after scoring twice in a training game.

Now Napa feels ready to express himself in a competitive fixture.

He said: “It (a debut) would mean a lot because I’d understand I had been given trust from the players and the manager.

“It’s a big step to take because not everybody gets an opportunity.

“I just hope to keep stepping up the ladder.”

He added: “Like every player you just want to be involved with the first team.

“My goal in football is to be the best and enjoy what I’m doing.

“The only way you can do that is by playing, so that’s the main thing.”