Under-21s coach David Wright sees his team’s EFL Trophy opening fixture against Plymouth Argyle as a tough test as they travel to Home Park on Tuesday (7:45pm KO).
Speaking on the senior League One side, Wright said it’s going to be a difficult fixture, but he and his staff are only interested about getting the process of the U21s development right on the night.
“Plymouth are in very good form, beating QPR at the weekend, they’re used to winning games. It’s a really good habit to have, getting promoted and beating QPR as well this season.
“It’s going to be a really tough game for the boys, but tomorrow night it’s about the process for our boys, it’s about being brave enough to play the way we want them to play.
“It’s going to be tough, but I want them to show personality and character and make sure they’re brave enough to play in and out of possession. If they do that, the result takes care of itself.
“We’ve looked at Plymouth and seen their strengths and looked at areas we hopefully we can exploit, but we’ll just concentrate on ourselves and make sure the boys are fully focused and understand how we want them to play.
“The bench will be Under-18s from that squad, it’s a young squad, but it’s brilliant. It’s great experience for them. From once they’re seventeen we want them to be brave and play our way, if they do, we’ll be more than happy.”
Norwich City first-team midfielder Josh Martin once credited the U21s fixture to Oxford United in last season’s EFL Trophy (then called the Leasing.com Trophy) as the start of his significant development at the club.
Asked about this and if he sees any players replicating that progression in this tournament, Wright says the opportunity is there if the players can perform in this tough fixture.
“We hope so, Josh got his opportunity last year and grabbed it with both hands, that’s what you’ve got to do. Josh had the personality and character to express himself on big nights, like at Oxford.
“Hopefully the boys will look at him, see what he’s done and how he’s progressed and I’m sure they’ll want to do the same thing. But to do the same thing, they have to perform on big occasions like this.”