BASINGSTOKE footballer Joel Bagan has set up a dream FA Cup game against Liverpool after his Cardiff City side defeated Preston in the third round of the tournament.

Joel will face Jurgen Klopp-led side on February 5 at the Anfield, exactly 15 years after he travelled to Liverpool as a mascot for Reading FC in 2007.

The young defender, now 20, was just five then and was living at Fort Hill Drive in Winklebury.

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Cardiff City defeated Preston 2-1 in the FA Cup third round to book a high-profile game against the Premier League club.

Speaking to the Gazette in 2007, Joel had said he was excited to meet his idol and then Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and then Reading captain Ivar Ingimarsson.

"I really enjoyed it and Ivar Ingimarsson, who was the captain, was really kind to me," Joel had said then. "I got a bit nervous when we first got there, but once I got onto the pitch I was just excited.

"I really enjoyed the game as well, even though Reading lost.

"My favourite part was when I met Steven Gerrard in the players' lounge before the match.”

Basingstoke Gazette: Joel Bagan (in Reading kit) on the Anfield pitch before kick-off in the 2007 gameJoel Bagan (in Reading kit) on the Anfield pitch before kick-off in the 2007 game

Joel was a Castle Hill Infant School pupil then.

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He went on to begin a football career with Southampton before joining Cardiff City during the 2018-19 season.

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Kimberley Barber