Match preview: Norwich City U23s v Aston Villa U23s

Following fixture rearrangements against West Brom and Reading, Norwich City Under-23s play their first game of 2021 against Aston Villa at the Lotus Training Centre this Friday evening (7pm KO).

David Wright’s squad currently sit sixth in the Premier League 2 table, just three points of second-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers, but a massive 12 points behind Leeds United.

Turning attention to Villa, the side sit just one point ahead of the Canaries in the table, finding themselves fifth with 17 points, but it’s City who have a game in hand.

Should they take all three points against the Villans, the young Canaries could see themselves into third-place, leaping up the table three places.

In their last game before the Christmas break, the young Canaries took a 2-1 loss to Wolves at the Lotus Training Centre, substitute Abu Kamara’s 81st minute goal unable to spark a comeback from City in the late stages of the game.

The Canaries last faced Villa earlier this season, hosting them at the Lotus Training Ground after the venue was moved from Bodymoor Heath Training Ground. It was Villa who took all three points with a 3-0-win, courtesy of goals from Aaron Ramsey, Dominic Revan and Jaden Philogene-Bidace.

Under-23s Rob Nizet says the team are looking forward to the task at hand against Villa, adding that they want to ‘put things right’ after their unfortunate loss against Wolves to end 2020.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve played a game, so I’m really looking forward to play again tomorrow against Aston Villa.

“We didn’t finish off the year how we wanted to, so we came back with a good mentality to put things right.

“We had a lot of time to prepare ourselves for the first game back, obviously the two previous games were rearranged, so that gave us more time to get our fitness up or tackling some problems.

“I think the coaches have given us all the information to play well and perform well tomorrow.”

“This COVID thing has made training a bit different, but we knew we’d be playing games, so the focus was still there in training.

“At times it was a little bit harder because the two games were rearranged, so when we got the news it was a bit disappointing, but because we’re playing now it’s given us a boost the whole week. The passion is there for the team to give everything.”

After Villa gave the young Canaries their first loss of the season, Nizet describes the game as a chance for the team to take their revenge with a win but knows the game will be difficult after seeing the Villa U23s face Liverpool’s senior squad in the FA Cup.

“It was our first loss in a good period that we had, so we want to take our revenge a bit and put things right.”

“I can speak for our side, the whole team is buzzing to be playing, we’ve got a lot of energy and the legs are fresh.

“We want to score goals, create chances, everything. I think Aston Villa will do the same, they’re a good team, we saw that on TV against Liverpool. I think it’ll be a very good game and I’m looking forward to it.”

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