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13 March 2015

City to name young side for Gunners test

NORWICH City Under-18s begin their end of season play-off campaign with a visit to Arsenal on Saturday (11am), having won four of their last five matches.

The Canaries most recently faced up to their opponents as little as a fortnight ago, and came away from London with a highly impressive 3-1 victory thanks to goals from Todd Cantwell, George Couzens and Dexter Peter.

However, coach Jerry Gill is expecting a tough test when the two sides meet again, and told "The word is they are going to put out a strong team because we beat them there a few weeks ago.

"They haven't got an Under-21s game around the end of the week so we'll see what comes of that. For us, it will probably be the youngest team we've put out all season because the Under-21s have a game on Monday, which has a knock-on effect.

"We're left quite short, but that gives a good opportunity to a lot of the Under-16s. It's another one to look forward to, and the first game in the play-off system so hopefully we can go there and be competitive."

City will play a total of seven play-off matches, including further away trips to Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United in addition to hosting the likes of Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City.

The schedule ensures Gill's side will face a number of teams they didn't encounter in the regular campaign, with the academy coach commenting: "It will be a nice challenge as those Northern teams are always committed.

"They come with a good work ethic, and will be physically stronger than most of the teams we play. There will some overnight stays involved too which is a different learning curve for some of the boys who haven't done that.

"We'll try and mix it up to give them an experience as close to what the first team might get. That's important when you're talking about player development, and their experiences as a young scholar.

"It's a really strong play-off, so we're thoroughly looking forward to it."

W – 3-5 v Leicester (A) 04/03/2015 – Barclays U18s Premier League
L – 1-3 v Norwich (H) 28/02/2015 – Barclays U18s Premier League
L – 4-1 v Tottenham (A) 25/02/2015 – Barclays U18s Premier League
L – 2-3 v Crewe (H) 23/02/2015 – FA Youth Cup
L – 2-1 v West Brom (A) 21/01/2015 – Barclays U18s Premier League

L – 1-0 v West Brom (A) 07/01/2015 – Barclays U18s Premier League
W – 1-3 v Arsenal (A) 28/02/2015 – Barclays U18s Premier League
W – 1-2 v West Ham (A) 21/02/2015 – Barclays U18s Premier League
W – 2-1 v Southampton (H) 14/02/2015 – Barclays U18s Premier League
W – 2-1 v Leicester City (H) 31/01/2015 – Barclays U18s Premier League

LAST ARSENAL U18s XI (v Leicester City)
Keto (GK); Dobson, Smith, O'Connor, Bola, Zelalem, Bielik, Willock, Eyoma, Maitland-Niles, Mavididi.

LAST NORWICH CITY U18s XI (v West Bromwich Albion)
Oxborough (GK); Frimpong, Crowe, Peter, Boateng; Pollock, Black, List, Cantwell; Couzens, McIntosh.

Derby, Saturday March 14, 3pm


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