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7 February 2016

Youth Cup stars set to feature at Old Trafford

DMITRI Halajko says City's FA Youth Cup run at Under-18s level can help his Under-21s side when they visit Old Trafford to take on Manchester United on Monday (7pm).

The Canaries' youth team progressed to the quarter-finals of the flagship competition with a stunning 5-4 comeback victory over Middlesbrough on Wednesday.

Many of those who featured in that game are expected to travel with the Development Squad to Manchester, and Halajko believe such experiences will hold them in good stead when it comes to another high-profile occasion.

Halajko told "Quite a few of those players will be in the squad, seven or eight of them.

"We do want to stretch our best players and we think part of that is pushing lads into the Under-21s.

"The Youth Cup run has given that age-group of players big matches to play in, and on Monday some of them will be going to the in-form team of the Under-21s league.

"The more experience you have of playing in games like that, the better stead you will be in."

United are second in the Barclays Under-21s Premier League, just three points behind leaders Sunderland while having three matches in hand.

City, meanwhile, are 11th in the 12-team division and Halajko is readying his team for a stern test.

"We're expecting a hard match. We beat them at Carrow Road but they've beaten everyone quite comfortably since," he added.

"They're quite an experienced Under-21s team. They've got players like (Adnan) Januzaj and (Andreas) Pereira who have got first-team experience.

"It's as big a test as it gets: the most in-form team, with some really good players and playing at Old Trafford. That's why we want to be in this league though.

"In our last six games, league matches and friendlies, we've performed well. The mood should be high and we're hoping to carry that forward."

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