Back from the Christmas break and on their fifth consecutive away day, Norwich City Under-18s visit Birmingham County FA in their return fixture against West Brom this Saturday (1pm KO).
The young Canaries sit eighth in the U18 Premier League going into their first game of the new year, one point behind Chelsea, who have two games in hand.
Meanwhile, West Brom are tenth in the table, having picked up nine points so far this season after ten games, meaning they have a game in hand themselves.
A win against the Baggies could see the Canaries leapfrog Chelsea and go level on points with Arsenal, just beaten by goal difference in the table to the Gunners.
The U18s last fixture before the break came against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Youth Cup third round, with City progressing to the fourth round after beating the midlands side 4-2.
The highlight of the game came from Abu Kamara, who instinctively netted a hat-trick, his first for Norwich City. The young striker scored in the 21st, 43rd and 57th minute, finding his hat-trick in just 36 minutes.
The young Canaries last faced the Baggies earlier in the 2020-2021 season, beating the side 5-1 in the opening game of the campaign.
Under-18s defender Lewis Shipley says the team are excited for the game against West Brom, claiming the team’s morale is ‘the highest it’s ever been’ as they make their return to the league.
“It’s all been a strange scenario for everyone with all the new restrictions and things, but the fact we still get to play football at all is keeping the boys in high spirits, the team morale is probably the highest it’s ever been at the moment.
“The fact we still get to play games will give us the motivation we need to go out and perform the best we can on Saturday.”
Speaking on their last game played against Wolves in the Youth Cup, Shipley warned that despite the team taking plenty of confidence from the game, they have to be careful to not let performances drop.
“We took a lot of confidence from the Wolves game in that we got the win. I’d say as a group we now know not to get complacent when we’re on a high.
"As a group we have to maintain our standards and keep pushing on to get more points in the league.”
Having made his U18s debut against West Brom at the start of the season, Shipley feels as though the team should focus on the game at hand rather than previous results, warning that the Baggies will be completely different from their loss against the Canaries.
“I think that was a big start to the season, getting a big win. We know for a fact that they will have improved and we’ve got a different side, so we’re not really taking a lot of things from that, we just want to go out and do the same.
“Everyone is high in confidence from all the recent good performances, so we’re more than ready to go out and perform to try and get three points tomorrow.”