Heading to Little Heath Sports Ground for their third consecutive away day, Norwich City Under-18s face West Ham United this Saturday (12pm KO).
Despite defeat last week to Reading, the young Canaries sit eighth in the U18 Premier League ahead of their visit to the Hammers, four points behind seventh-place Chelsea.
Meanwhile, West Ham sit ninth in the table, level on points with the Canaries and only down by goal difference. The Hammers also have two games in hand, giving them the opportunity to not only surpass City, but also make space in the table from them.
A win for the young Canaries wouldn’t move them any further up the table but keep them in reach of the Blues as they approach the Christmas break.
Last week’s fixture to Reading had lessons in abundance for City, taking a 5-2 loss to the Royals at Bearwood Training Ground.
Mamadi Camara got Reading off to a positive start, scoring in six minutes, before Nahum Melvin-Lambert doubled the Royals lead at the ten-minute mark.
City’s Brad Hills pulled one back for the Canaries, but an own-goal from Lewis Shipley, as well as tidy finishes from Kelvin Ehibhahaima and Melvin-Lambert, meant Jon Rowe’s late penalty conversion would be nothing but a consolation.
The last meeting between the Hammers and Canaries was another difficult one for City, seeing them lose out 4-1 to this weekend’s hosts in September of the 2019-2020 season.
Under-18s defender Lewis Shipley believes the game against West Ham will be a tough one, but says the side have the belief that they have the skillset to take all three points.
"Tomorrow is going to be a tough game for the lads, we've got quite a young side and we're preparing for next Friday's FA Youth Cup game. We're pretty confident going to the game, but we know it'll be a tough one, but we believe we have what it takes to win the game.
"All the lads would like to win every game and be up there at the top of the league fighting, so I think it's a great opportunity for us to get three points and hopefully build a gap between us and the bottom half of the table."
Asked about the recovery from their loss to Reading last week, Shipley says the team learnt a lot about themselves as a collective rather than as individuals as a result of the loss.
"I think we learnt a lot from the game about team shape and a lot more on other team-based aspects. Once we put all of that together, our individual talents will be able to shine through in these games."