Matt Gill is expecting a tight game when his Under-23s visit Stoke City on Monday.
City resume their Premier League 2 campaign looking to build on a three-game unbeaten run which they took into Christmas.
Gill had his players in for training over the festive hiatus but he revealed balancing rest and work was key in getting the players in shape for the resumption of the season.
“It was important that the lads had a few days off,” he said. “We didn’t want to give them too many and obviously the majority of them are professionals so they need to get used to training over the Christmas period.
“We trained quite hard when we came in just to make sure we are in the best position for when we come to that first game next Monday.
“Going into the second half of the season, you’d like to think that we can continue with all the good stuff we have been doing and keep adding to that.”
City go into the match in ninth place with their opponents currently two places below them. The Potters have also lost each of their last three games.
“It’s at St. George’s Park on their main pitch under the lights so it will be a great game to be involved in,” added Gill.
“The teams are very evenly matched in this league; we had a tight game with them back in the league earlier on in the season at Carrow Road.”
“It will be a tough game and hopefully we can start the year with three points.”