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23 April 2016

Young Canaries seek opportunity to avoid the drop

CITY's Under-21s know they must beat Liverpool in the final match of their season on Monday (2pm) to give themselves a chance of avoiding relegation.

Dmitri Halajko's Canaries are currently 11th in the 12-team Barclays Under-21s Premier League Division 1, with the bottom two sides demoted at the end of the campaign.

A victory over the Reds in Kirkby on Monday, along with defeats for direct rivals Middlesbrough and Leicester City, would see the youngsters retain their status among English football's elite for 2016-17.

With three points a must, Halajko says the experience of competing in a high-stakes match will prove very useful for his charges.

"It's good development for them because most of them wouldn't have played in a game that decides promotion or relegation before," he told

"They need to play these types of games to experience the pressure that comes, and it's important that they learn how to deal with it.

"We've been competitive all season and the fact that we're still taking teams to the wire now shows that, despite having one of the youngest squads in the league."

Halajko can draw encouragement from City's fruitful form on the road that has seen them earn wins away to Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester in recent weeks.

In their last outing at Southampton, they fought back from two goals down only to lose out to a stoppage-time winner from the hosts.
Their coach added: "Away to Leicester, Spurs, Middlesbrough and Southampton we've been as good, if not better, than the opposition.

"We're not going to Liverpool with any kind of fear, we're going there to win the game with a good performance.

"We need to win, but we've got 90 minutes to win. We won't go to win in the first 20 minutes because you can then lose a game in the first 20 minutes.

"Having said that, if we need to change our gameplan and go even more offensive, we've worked on some strategies that will hopefully allow us to do that."

Assessing Liverpool's threats, Halajko commented: "They'll always be a strong team, they're a good footballing team.

"They press a lot more now Jurgen Klopp has come in. His way of playing has filtered down to the Academy there.

"We drew 0-0 at Carrow Road and they've got some players who have been in and out of Klopp's squad, so it will be tough.

"They will want to dominate the ball and press us, but we'll try and do the same to them."

We will be joining the team on Monday night to provide coverage acrossour digital channels, with video highlights to follow on Norwich City TV.

L - 3-2 v Southampton (A) 18/04/2016 - Barclays U21s Premier League
W - 0-1 v Leicester (A) 11/04/2016 - Barclays U21s Premier League
L - 1-2 v Everton (H) 04/04/2016 - Barclays U21s Premier League
D - 4-4 v Reading (H) 21/03/2016 - Barclays U21s Premier League
W - 1-2 v Tottenham Hotspur (A) 11/03/2016 - Barclays U21s Premier League

LAST NORWICH CITY U21s XI (vs Southampton)
Killip; Ramsay, Crowe, Efete, Hall-Johnson; Grant (Godfrey, 60), Adams; Lewis (Higgs, 60), McIntosh, Middleton; Ashley-Seal. Unused subs: Oxborough (GK), Sambu, Syme.

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