Norwich City's Under-18s are continuing their long streak of away games as they set off to play Swansea on Saturday (1pm KO), in the U18 Premier League.
The match will take place at the neutral venue of the University of Warwick but will still be classed as a home fixture for the Canaries with the away fixture also taking place at the same venue.
A win for City would take them above their opponents, who are sitting at 11th. Should City lose this fixture, the gap between them and the rest of the League will increase, meaning they will have to work even harder to get out of that bottom position.
It hasn’t been the most fortunate of runs for Swansea in the League. The Welsh side have only managed to pick up four points after nine games, winning one, drawing another and losing seven. The Canaries are the only team to have a less favourable record, with zero wins, two draws and seven losses.
One positive the young Canaries can take just by looking at the table is found in the goal difference. Swansea have conceded 35 goals this season, giving them the worst defensive record of the whole League. With City’s attack scoring 13 in the last four games, this may be the optimal time for the Canaries to pounce and find their much needed three points.
The teams last met back in April of the 18-19 season, a game which ended a whopping 6-0 in Swansea’s favour, a score City won’t want to be seeing again this time round.
Swansea’s man to look out for is Joshua Thomas. The young forward has scored five goals in five games for the Swans, making up 33% of their goal tally this season. Should he be playing, the Canaries should be watching him closely to avoid seeing that count rise.
U18s midfielder Nelson Khumbeni is keen to get going against Swansea, saying that the side have been playing much better over recent weeks, and although losing out to Fulham, the side still felt confident about their performance. He said:
“I think we’re ready for Swansea. Each of us know our roles, we know our responsibilities, so our preparation has been perfect. Since the second-half against Chelsea and the full 90 minutes against Sunderland and Fulham we’ve been flying.
“We’re starting to make sense of it all and really improve individually and as a team, so I think we’re going into this game against Swansea with a lot of confidence.”
Reflecting on the team’s performance against Fulham, Khumbeni insists the side played exactly how they wanted to for most of the game, despite the fact they lost 5-3, saying:
“The circumstances of that game just show that things don’t always go your way. We conceded through our own mistakes, nothing else.
"When things went right, and we played like we train to, it went spot on. We lost by two goals, but we scored three great goals of our own, and they were all because of the work we’ve been putting in.”
“Another positive from Fulham was just our work rate as a whole, when we work hard as a team, we’re able to close down a lot quicker and make chances so much easier. When we play smart, and we play like we’re supposed to, then we just let the game go our way.
“We know what we can do when we work hard and that has shown a lot recently.”
Turning his attention back to the game ahead, Khumbeni made it clear of the side’s feelings about not just Swansea, but any team they come up against.
“We have no fear for Swansea. We don’t care who our opponent is because, at the end of the day, it’s a football match between two teams. Our position in the league doesn’t matter, and neither does our opponent's.
“We turn up to play football and work hard, and it’s all about what happens on the day. There’s nothing more to it than that, so we don’t fear any team.”
You can follow all the action of the game on our dedicated Academy Twitter account.