Norwich City Under-18s visit Bearwood Park Training Facility to face Reading on Saturday (12:30pm kick-off), in the U18 Premier League.
After a spectacular 3-0 win over Everton to progress to the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup, the U18s will be looking to replicate that result and follow in the footsteps of the U23s with a win against the Royals. A win over Reading wouldn’t move City further up the table in terms of position but allow them to compete with the likes of Swansea and their opponents, avoiding an increased gap in points from the 12th spot.
Reading are experienced a mixed form as of recent. The Royals have won just two of their last five games, losing the other three. Most recently they experienced a 2-1 loss to Southampton, who sit one place above them. It’s clear Reading don’t go down without a fight however, their last eight games have ended with just a goal to separate the sides, whether that be a win or a loss.
Turning attention to the stats is a slight thorn in the Canaries’ side. Reading have scored 13 goals this season, the lowest amount of any team. Although this seems like a positive, as earlier mentioned Reading score in most games they play, the last team to keep a clean sheet against them being Arsenal at the start of October. The Royals also flaunt the third best defensive record in the league, conceding just 16. Despite the fact that puts Reading at a -3 goal difference, City have a -18 goal difference, putting 15 goals between the sides. Although beatable, especially in recent form, the Canaries should be ready for battle.
The teams last met back in January of the 18-19 season, a game which the Canaries took home a 2-1 victory. A result that may not seem too far out of reach on Saturday, especially with the recent form of both sides.
Reading’s man to look out for is Claudio Osorio. The young midfielder has netted four goals in eight appearances for the Royals, making him the side’s most dangerous in front of the ‘keeper, after scoring 30% of their goals.
On the other hand, City have their own man to look out for, Tyrese Omotoye. The young forward has been excelling in recent games, most recently getting a brace in the Premier League Cup game against Everton, one of the strongest teams in their league. Speaking on that game, Omotoye said it was all credit to the team around him.
“The Everton game was a must-win, so we were really pleased to come away with a win. Scoring twice was really good for me, I was happy with my goals, but I would never have done it without my teammates creating the chances for me.
“Scoring one from close and another from the edge of the 18-yard box was great. I think after that Everton game, it proved we’re as good as anyone in the cup.”
The U18s have suffered quite a few losses in their league campaign, but are starting to improve drastically, translating that to results. Omotoye said the team are still riding the high of their underdog win against Everton and are enjoying preparation for Reading as usual.
“Over the last few weeks it’s been a lot more positive, we believe in ourselves and the ability to play more. I think we’ll take that into tomorrow’s game to get a good result too.
“I haven’t played against a team like Reading in a while, in our preparations we don’t really worry about the other team, we just do what we normally do.
“We have done some preparation for them, like we know their shape and tactics, but it’s all about us really in our build-up. We’ve been working on a lot, like our shape, our pressing and our set pieces.”
You can follow all the action of the game on our dedicated Academy Twitter account.