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Academy News

Match preview: Norwich City U23s v Leeds United U23s

18 February 2021

Looking to bounce back after a close loss to Stoke on Monday evening, Norwich City Under-23s take on league-leaders Leeds United at the Lotus Training Centre on Friday (1pm KO).

Going into the game, the young Canaries have continued to hold onto their tenth-place position in the Premier League 2 table, both Burnley and Middlesbrough sitting just a point ahead.

On the other hand, Leeds are on the best form of their season so far. An eight-win streak sees the Peacocks top of the table with 37 points, ten ahead of second-place Stoke and twenty ahead of the Canaries.

As the season approaches its end, the bottom half of the table is still anyone’s game. A win on Friday could possibly seeing the Canaries rise as high as seventh in the table, level on points with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The U23s last fixture against Stoke City was a close one, but one that saw the Canaries return to Norfolk empty-handed after their 2-1 loss. Tom Dickson-Peters opened up the scoring early on, but a screamer and penalty went Stoke’s way to see the Potters take the win.

In the first meeting between City and Leeds earlier this season, David Wright’s side took a 2-0 loss as they faced some of the Peacock’s most senior players. First-team stars Raphinha, Ian Poveda and Pablo Hernandez were just a few to feature against City, guiding their team all three points.

The short delay between games is a welcome one according to Under-23s midfielder Zach Dronfield, who says that the team appreciate the practice for senior leagues football with games coming more often, especially when looking to put the Stoke result right.

“We’re feeling good! We’ve had a quick turnaround from the game on Monday, but we all feel fresh and ready, we want to change our form around a bit and get three points on the board.

“The turnaround only prepares us for the future, it’s good practice. It’s good for us to get that under our belts and realise how tough it can be going from a game on the Monday to a game on the Friday, then back to the Monday again.

“It’s tough physically and mentally, but that’s what we need to prepare for, so it’s good.

“We were disappointed with the way a few things went, we didn’t think we played our absolute best, and we know there’s room to improve.

“We’re looking to build on that and take it into the game tomorrow and hopefully improve and get them three points.”

Discussing their last clash against Leeds and the cameo appearances of first-team stars, Dronfield says the whole team saw it as a great way to pick up even more experience of first-team football.

“I thought it was a good game, it was a good experience for us all to play against those sorts of players because we all have aspirations to play in the Premier League or at a first-team level.

“Again, this prepares us for what we’ll get if we do make it to the first-team or a Premier League side. It’s good because it helps us learn, we can watch back the clips and learn from them, so it’s only a good experience.

“I think the league has shown this year that anyone can beat anyone. We started off top of the table and now we’re not doing so well, it just shows that things can change, so we’re as confident as ever.”

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