After their 2-1 win over Southampton U18s, Norwich City Under-18s are looking to continue their winning ways as they travel to Bearwood Training Ground on Saturday (11am KO).
Ahead of the clash against the Royals, the young Canaries have made the move up to eighth-place in the U18 Premier League table, ahead of West Ham on goal difference, with the Hammers holding a game in hand.
Looking to Reading, the Royals sit tenth in the table with five points after a win and two draws in eight games.
After their win against the Saints last week, City have closed the gap from Arsenal to just three points, meaning a win at the weekend could see them level with the Gunners, who also have a game in hand.
Last week’s game against Southampton was a tightly-contested one. Abu Kamara found the opening goal of the game in the 24th minute, before Sam Bellis levelled just minutes later. Coming close to yet another goal to turn the tides in their favour, Kamara halted the Saints’ efforts by finding the back of the net again just before the half-time whistle was blown.
The Canaries did well to see the game out in the second-half, holding the Saints to a goalless 45 minutes to allow City to bring all three points back to Norfolk.
The last meeting between the Canaries and Royals was a hectic one, as eight-goals, including a Zach Dronfield screamer, gave City a deserved 5-3 win.
Under-18s midfielder Sol Alidor-Hamilton says the team are going into this game looking to get the win but emphasised the importance of developing with each game for the squad, not just getting the three points.
“We just go into every game looking to get the win, but also we look to better ourselves for the next game as well.
“It’s all just us playing, working on adapting to different situations in the games to develop and get better. It’s getting the job done, then moving on to the next one.”
Speaking on his own development with the Under-17s and Under-18s, Hamilton insists that he doesn’t mind where he gets his minutes, as every second on the pitch counts for his progression in the sport.
“I’m happy to get minutes with both U17s and U18s, it helps me keep on developing really. Getting more minutes is more development, it doesn’t matter to me if I’m with the 17s or 18s, it’s about me getting better and catching different things of the game.
“Playing my own age group, it’s hard to adapt, other age groups it helps to adapt to bigger players, faster players and developing from there.”
Finally, asked about his adjustment from the U16s to U18s, Hamilton detailed the vast differences between the age groups, saying the difference in responsibility alone is a huge change.
“It was difficult, last season I only started one game against Aston Villa for the 18s before lockdown. It is a big step up, a really big one, the football is a lot quicker and players have got a better understanding of the game.
“Coming from 16s to 18s is a big step in knowing what your role is in the team alone and knowing what different stuff you have to bring to the pitch. In the gym, you have to push yourself to the max, the same with education.
“Everything you do at the training ground comes as part of the plan for the Saturday. It's a big change in having a little responsibility in the 16s, to a big responsibility in the 18s.”