It’s a night under the lights for Norwich City’s Under-18s, as they host Manchester United in the fourth-round of the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday (7pm kick-off).
The U18s are on an excellent run of form over the recent weeks, going unbeaten for six games in all competitions, winning three and drawing three. These draws have come against some of the best academies in the country too, making the run of form that much sweeter for the side.
Manchester United’s U18s haven’t played a competitive game since their 2-0 win over Lincoln City in the third round of the FA Youth Cup, back in early December. Before then, the side weren’t up to their usual form, winning two, drawing one and losing two of their last five league games.
The Canaries earnt themselves this spot in the fourth round after their 3-2 win over Newcastle in December at Carrow Road. After scoring two goals apiece, the game was looking certain to go to extra time, until Josh Martin stepped up and blistered one in from distance, completing his hat-trick and winning the Canaries the game.
United sealed their spot in this fixture after their less-dramatic 2-0 win over Lincoln in the third round. Dillon Hoogeworf bagged himself a brace after two team moves set him up perfectly in front of goal.
Academy manager Steve Weaver is looking forward to the game, saying it’s an even tie that can go either way in an exciting game.
“It’s Manchester United, they’ve got a history of developing young players. They’ll turn up and they’ll play the way Manchester United do, get it and pass it, it’ll be an open game.
“They know that Norwich away, with the players we’ve got, will be a tough game, as we know the players they’ve got makes it a tough game for us as well.
“I think it’s a really good tie and when it came out of the hat, people would’ve looked at it and thought that’d be a good game of football. It’s a 50/50 game for me, it could go either way.”
Looking back on our third round tie against Newcastle, Weaver revealed his take of the game, saying it was a difficult game to adapt to for the U18s, as the side on the night so rarely play together.
“We showed moments in the game that were great, obviously scoring three goals, the first two were really good team goals playing from the ‘keeper, then Josh [Martin] scoring the winner.
“But on reflection, we look back and we had enough chances to have won the game. We always felt we were in control of the game; however, it was a bit too open for us.
“It maybe because the team doesn’t play together very often, and that might be what we get on Tuesday night, the majority of the boys are playing with the Under-23s and don’t play with the Under-18s as much.
“When all of a sudden when they’ve got to play together you find that partnerships aren’t as fluid as they would be if you’re playing with each other all the time.”
With the support the Canaries received last time, Weaver believes this one will be an even better one to come down and watch on the night, regardless of the result.
“I think with these games, you don’t quite know what’s on the pitch. That’s for both us and United. We don’t know, the next superstar could be playing on that pitch on Tuesday, or they might not be.
“I think it’s a really good game of football that people should come and watch, it might disappoint on the night, but both teams have good players. I think it’s going to be a game that if there was one game on a Tuesday night, it’s probably one to take in.
“I’d encourage all local supporters to come watch the game and hopefully enjoy a really good game of football.”
Please note, tickets are FREE of charge and can be booked by phone on 01603 721902 (option one), at the Carrow Road ticket office or the Fan Hub.
Supporters can also gain entry at the Thorpe Area turnstiles on the evening of the match.
Supporters who require car parking should be aware that although parking is free, it may be limited to a first come, first served basis.