Norwich City Under-23s officially start their 2020-21 Premier League 2 season as they host Reading at Lotus Training Centre on Monday evening (7pm KO).
Kicking off their first match on home soil, David Wright’s U23s will be looking to carry the momentum of the Under-21s EFL Trophy win against Plymouth Argyle into their league season.
The short pre-season was a tough test for the U23s side, playing a host of senior teams in preparation for the season ahead.
Taking two victories from three games, including a 2-1 win over Ipswich Town U23s and a 1-0 win against King’s Lynn Town, the side will be looking to start their campaign on a high note.
Finishing 11th in Premier League 2 last season, the young Canaries were just four points behind 9th place Reading in the closing stages of the 2019-20 campaign.
The Canaries last faced the Royals back in November of the 2019-20 season, taking a 1-0 win. Leaving it until the very last minute of the game, City got their winner after striker Adam Idah picked up on a defensive error, setting Gassan Ahadme up in front of goal to tap the winner into an open net.
Under-23s midfielder Reece McAlear has fond memories of last season’s win over the side, saying he found the game quite comfortable, despite not seeing the winner until added time.
“The last time we played Reading, I remember coming on in the last 30 minutes and it was 0-0 and we were chasing the game, dominating quite a bit. We went to score because there were quite a lot of minutes added on, we went on to see it through and won 1-0.
“It was quite comfortable, we had chances and chances, it was just one of them games we couldn’t score, but we dug deep and kept going with the simple things until we forced a mistake and capitalised on it.”
Discussing the U23s short pre-season, McAlear believes the side are due a good start in their league campaign after their number of wins against senior opponents.
“We’re feeling good, we just beat Plymouth 3-2 who were a really experienced and tough side to play against. We’re confident going into this match.”
“Plymouth was our fourth game back including our pre-season, and we all did really well in them. Fitness levels are top, results have been really good and even though we lost to Portsmouth, they were really good opposition. We all feel good, fit and ready to go.”
Following government guidelines, no spectators will be permitted to attend any games across the Academy season for the time being, however any changes will be communicated accordingly.
You can follow all the action of the game on our dedicated Academy Twitter account.