I’ll play the kids on merit - Grant

PUBLISHED: 15:00 31 March 2007 | UPDATED: 10:11 14 September 2010

Norwich City boss Peter Grant today insisted he will only give City youngsters a chance in the first team if they deserve it.

Norwich City boss Peter Grant today insisted he will only give City youngsters a chance in the first team if they deserve it.

With the Canaries safe from relegation, fans have called for some of the academy's players to be given their chance in the last eight games of the season.

But Grant said that he will not be blooding youngsters just for the sake of it in the run-in and wants to make sure that each player that pulls on a City shirt realises just what an honour it is to represent the club.

"I'm not one for saying it's the end of the season let's just go through the motions and if we win, we win," he said.

"No way. I want to win this eight game period and I want to play as well we can and take as many points as we can. And I'll pick the best team to do that."

Chris Martin and Robert Eagle are the only players from the academy to break into the first team this season but this does not concern the City boss, who simply wants to finish the season with as many points as possible to start building for the next campaign.

"I will not be putting them in just for the sake of giving them 90 minutes or five minutes or just to give them their debut. I've got to make sure that when they pull on that Norwich City strip that they have earned that.

"I won't just be leaving people out. I'm here to make sure that we can win every game that we can so if people deserve to be in the first team then they will get a chance."

One player that is determined to force his way into Grant's plans before the end of the season is Michael Spillane. The Republic of Ireland Under-18 captain has been in superb form for his country - scoring a last minute winner against Portugal to win the tournament.

But Spillane has not played for the Canaries first team this season, having to settle instead for a number of outings for the reserves.

But the 18-year-old hopes he will get his chance before the end of the season.

"Training has been going well recently and I've been getting more games with the reserves and the youth side.

"All I can do is hope and do my best in training to prove to the manager to give me a chance and hopefully that will come before the end of the season."

It's decision time next week for the club as to what scholars in the Norwich academy will be offered professional contracts and Spillane admits he has a degree of sympathy for those players whose careers will be shaped in the coming days.

"I can really identify with some of the youth players. It's their careers that are on the line. All that they have done in the last two years is based on next week so it's a nervy time for them all.

"It wasn't really the same for me as I got offered a professional contract about three months into my first year and I was not really expecting it. It came out of the blue for me but I was certainly one of the lucky ones."

One youngster every City supporter hopes gets signed up on a professional contract is Chris Martin and Spillane admits it would be thoroughly deserved for the Beccles youngster who has made such an impact since getting his chance.

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