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27 April 2017

Interim Under-23s boss eyeing final berth

MATT Gill wants his Norwich City Under-23s players to seize the moment when they face Reading in the Premier League Cup semi-final on Sunday (1pm).

The young Canaries head to the Madejski Stadium, having produced a fine performance to see off Liverpool in the previous round earlier this month.

"It's a great opportunity to reach a final," the interim Development Squad boss told

"The boys have experience of another semi-final this year already, in the International Cup. They had a lot of disappointment with how that ended and hopefully they can use that as fuel for this one.

"This Sunday probably suits us, being away from home, as it will help the lads to concentrate on what they need to do. We've had lots of positive away performances over the last few months so need to make sure we have the same mentality.

"We've looked at a lot of Reading footage and fortunately enough Leicester played them recently as well. Dmitri [Halajko] is there now so I've had a chat with him about them too.

"The good work Dmitri did earlier in the season isn't lost on anyone, so hopefully we can get to a final for him as much as for ourselves."

A revised format for Under-23s fixtures this term has made for a hectic schedule, with the trip to Berkshire marking City's 40th competitive game of 2016-17.

Gill is determined to make it 41 by navigating a way past The Royals, and added: "It's a chance to keep the season going, with the league campaign having ended on Monday.

"They'll have plenty of time to rest soon so at this stage of the season it's the best time to be playing for something. That's really what I've been saying; make sure you make the most of it.

"The games programme has been unbelievable this season, it's probably the first time they've had a full fixture schedule. It's been a real eye-opener for a lot of them, which is what it's all about.

"It's been a really good learning curve for them, in terms of seeing what it's like having to grind out games. Sunday will be a a really tough test but one we're all looking forward to."

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