Their last game before the Christmas break, Norwich City Under-18s face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the third round of the FA Youth Cup at St George’s Park on Friday evening (7pm KO).
The game was originally due to take place at the home of Wolves, the Molineux Stadium, but has since been relocated to the England national team’s training ground.
The young Canaries took a satisfactory win over West Ham United in the U18 Premier League going into the cup tie, beating the Hammers 3-0 after goals from Oscar Thorn, Joe Duffy and Alex Matos.
Meanwhile, Wolves’ most recent game in the U18 Premier League was a 1-0 loss to Manchester United, which ended their dominant five game win streak, including wins over Liverpool, Everton and Leeds United.
Last season, the Canaries drew Newcastle United in the third round, beating the Magpies 3-2 to progress into the fourth round. Manchester United was the next hurdle, City losing out to the Red Devils in front of an incredible 3,241 at Carrow Road.
That year has made a big difference for the Canaries, players such as Josh Martin, Andrew Omobamidele, Reece McAlear and Tyrese Omotoye all now having involvement with Daniel Farke’s first-team.
The Canaries have had good history with the FA Youth Cup, winning the tournament in the 2012-2013 season with now loans manager Neil Adams. Since then, City have only reached as far as the quarter-finals, giving the current run of young Canaries high aspirations for this season’s tournament.
Head of football development Steve Weaver believes the tie against Wolves is one of the third round’s biggest games, saying the odds will be split down the middle as both sides boast quality youth.
“It’s probably one of the better ties of the round, normally in the third round of the cup you get a couple of big teams playing each other. I think we’re one of the draws that everyone will look at and see as a good tie, we’ve got a history of developing players.
“Hopefully we’ve got a growing reputation for developing young players. There’ll be good players on the pitch and it’s a 50/50 game.”
Read more of what Steve Weaver had to say here!
Under-18s goalkeeper Sam Blair thinks the U18s side are looking forward to the game ahead, saying that the tournament brings an excitement to everyone in the squad, the shot-stopper having played in it twice before.
“Everyone’s buzzing, I love cup games, everyone enjoys it. Obviously, this is my third year in the Youth Cup now, I played when I was in the U16s as well. It’s such an exciting tournament.
“It helps going to West Ham the week before, winning 3-0 and getting a clean sheet, the first of the season. Everyone is super excited.
“I’ve been out for a couple of weeks with a thumb injury, so I was feeling my way back in against West Ham, going into my first game back with a clean sheet.”
Read more of what Sam Blair had to say here!