City U18s expect 'really tough' FA Youth Cup battle against Derby at Carrow Road
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Derby County are sure to pose a big threat to Norwich City Under-18s' hopes of progressing in the FA Youth Cup at Carrow Road on Friday night.
The Rams are mixing it with the big boys at the top end of U18 Premier League North, beating Manchester City 2-0 before Christmas and knocking Manchester United out of the Youth Cup.
They sealed a trip to Norfolk after a dramatic third round win, drawing 2-2 with United after extra-time before keeper Joe Fryatt saved three penalties in a 3-1 shootout victory in the snow.
“I watched their game and Derby are extremely well organised, it’s going to be a really tough game,” City’s U18s coach David Wright said.
“They don’t concede many goals at all, they’re very well drilled and they’re dangerous on the counter-attack so this is going to be a very tough game. They deserved to beat Manchester United, so we need to make sure that we’re on it right from minute one.”
The young Canaries bounced back from 1-0 down with four goals in 10 minutes to beat Barnsley 4-1 at Carrow Road in the third round, thanks to an Adam Idah hat-trick and an Anthony Spyrou strike.
Former Crewe Alexandra full-back Wright, who also had a loan spell at City, is boosted by the return to fitness of Scotland U19 winger Glenn Middleton.
The influential attacker is a regular for the U23s squad and returned after a month out with 30 minutes during a 3-1 win away to Stoke on Monday, but has only just turned 18 so can still play in the Youth Cup.
Right-back Max Aarons missed that game through illness but is expected to be fit for the U18s’ clash with Derby, when Wright hopes for a much better first half than in the last round.
“It was maybe the first time some of the lads had played at Carrow Road, under lights, big stadium, big occasion, so these are the kind of things that are really important to the boys’ development,” he continued.
“By the time you get to the first team, if you freeze for 45 minutes, the games is dead and gone, the opposition are three up and at that level they know how to close a game out. So these are the types of things we like to expose them to and the more you expose them to it the more it becomes natural and it’s not so much of a big thing, you go into games more relaxed.”
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