Norwich City Under-23s travel to the Academy of Light to face Sunderland U23s in the Premier League Division 2 on Monday afternoon (1pm KO).
The Canaries have two wins, one draw and two defeats from the last five games in the league, most recently drawing 0-0 at the Lotus Training Centre to Burnley U23s.
Sunderland, meanwhile, have won three and lost two of the last five, falling to a 3-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion two weeks ago.
With 16 points from nine games, City are currently third in the league, while the Black Cats sit 12th with 12 points.
A win for David Wright’s side would see them rise to the top of the division, leapfrogging Middlesbrough and Leeds United.
The last outing against Sunderland came this time last year in the 2019-2020 season, when the Canaries hosted the visitors at Carrow Road. The young City side will be hoping for a similar outcome to that game, after Wright’s side beat the Black Cats 3-1.
Under-23s midfielder Nelson Khumbeni says the team have taken plenty of lessons after their 6-0 loss to MK Dons in the Papa John’s Trophy before this game, adding that the team are now looking to use that experience as a way of developing for future fixtures.
“The vibes have been a recollection of what we needed to do in the experience of playing a League One team, the maturity of how they work compared to how we work.
“It’s just thinking and looking back on it as a learning curve and seeing how we can put it into Sunderland and future games."
“The standard of tomorrow could be similar, could be completely different, it’s more of a case of how we play, the process and how we perform it on the day.
"It’s all an understanding of how we work together and gel together, not focusing really on other teams.”
Asked about the possibility of going top of the league, should they pick up all three points, Khumbeni believes it’ll have plenty of meaning to the team, saying it would show their merit both individually and collectively.
“For any football game the aim is to win, but here it’s also to learn and develop. An incentive of three points and coming out with the win, that would be very impressive.”
“It’ll mean a lot to be top of the league, in that it’ll show where we’re at and shows the quality we have within the team. We can produce results in majority of the weeks, especially being top of the league would show how well we work together as a team.”