Chance of further first-team involvement as City U23s host Sunderland

Scotland midfielder Kenny McLean played the opening 45 minutes of a 2-2 draw with Wolfsburg II at Carrow Road for Norwich City U23s Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Scotland midfielder Kenny McLean played the opening 45 minutes of a 2-2 draw with Wolfsburg II at Carrow Road for Norwich City U23s Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood

There's likely to be first-team involvement again when Norwich City Under-23s host bottom-of-the-table Sunderland under the floodlights at Colney tonight.

The young Canaries drew 2-2 with Wolfsburg II at Carrow Road on Thursday night, with a late Anthony Spyrou goal keeping hopes of a place in the Premier League International Cup quarter-finals just about alive.

While that was a positive result for David Wright’s team, they have gone 11 matches without a win in all competitions, with only Sunderland below them in Premier League Two Division Two – seven points adrift.

“I’m interested in the performance, if we get the performance right then the result takes cares of itself, so that’s what we’re striving for,” Wright said of that run of results. “I don’t think we’re too far away, at the moment the patches are getting bigger and bigger, in terms of how we want to play. But we need to keep working, keep developing the group, and become more consistent.

“We’re looking for a 90-minute performance of what we produced in the last 20 or 25 minutes (against Wolfsburg). That’s what we’re searching for but it’ll come.”

REPORT & GALLERY: Spyrou salvages draw for Norwich U23s as McLean and Jarvis return against Wolfsburg

Wright was confirmed as the permanent replacement for Matt Gill last week and oversaw a team which included first teamers Kenny McLean, Matt Jarvis and Nelson Oliveira.

Only three over-age outfield players are allowed and the game may come to soon for McLean and Jarvis, depending on how they handled the first 45 minutes of their returns from injury. But the likes of Ivo Pinto, Ben Marshall, Felix Passlack, Tom Trybull and Dennis Srbeny have all had limited game time recently as well – ahead of four games in 11 days for Daniel Farke’s team.

The U23s head coach added: “I’m really chuffed, from my own development and the things I want to achieve, it’s great. Working with these boys, I’ve worked with most of them at under-18s level but for myself, that exposure of the first teamers dropping in to this level, it’s great.”

MORE: City U23s boss thankful for efforts of Oliveira, McLean and Jarvis against Wolfsburg

The draw with Wolfsburg followed a 2-1 defeat away to Newcastle last Monday, setting up a third game in eight days this evening (7pm).

“It’ll be another tough game,” the former Crewe defender continued. “We’ve had Newcastle away and then Wolfsburg, so the load on the boys has been more like first team, which is good because that’s what we’re preparing them for.”

His promotion means Wright misses out on this season’s FA Youth Cup campaign, having made it to the quarter-finals last season, where a disappointing 3-1 home loss to Birmingham at a snowbound Carrow Road saw the youngsters – including Max Aarons – miss out on a semi-final against Chelsea.

The U18s started off well on Wednesday though, winning 3-2 at Port Vale, despite letting a 2-0 lead slip at Vale Park – with the goals scored by Saul Milovanovic, Ethen Vaughan and Atli Barkarson.

“I got a bit nervous!” Wright added. “I was following it on the club Twitter and at 2-0 up I thought ‘job done’, but then 2-1 and 2-2, I got a bit nervous to be honest with you.

“It was great, the FA Youth Cup is special for the U18s, we’ll have another tough game, away to Preston, in the next round, but I’m sure they’ll be fine.”

• Any fans wishing to attend the game are advised to contact the club as parking is limited at Colney due to building work.

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