Spillane set for senior service

PUBLISHED: 14:10 12 December 2006 | UPDATED: 09:54 14 September 2010

DAVID CUFFLEY

Michael Spillane is gearing up for an important double date on the South Coast this week. The 17-year-old, who was on the substitutes' bench for Saturday's match against Sheffield Wednesday, may come into Peter Grant's first team plans for the trip to Southampton at the weekend, with Jason Shackell ruled out by suspension and Gary Doherty and Craig Fleming both battling back from injuries.

City defender Michael Spillane is gearing up for an important double date on the South Coast this week.

The 17-year-old, who was on the substitutes' bench for Saturday's Coca-Cola Championship match against Sheffield Wednesday, may come into manager Peter Grant's first team plans for the trip to Southampton at the weekend, with Jason Shackell ruled out by suspension and central defensive colleagues Gary Doherty and Craig Fleming both battling back from injuries.

But before the possibility of adding to his five senior appearances, Spillane has another big match further down the coast - City's FA Youth Cup third round tie at Portsmouth tomorrow (7pm).

The Republic of Ireland Under-19 international is in a squad of 19 for the game at Fratton Park.

Academy manager Ricky Martin said: “We're delighted that Michael Spillane has trained with the squad the last couple of days and will travel down with us.

“We've also got one or two of the boys coming back from the reserve squad last week who didn't play against Arsenal Under-18s on Saturday.

“We'll be taking a full-strength squad of all 18 scholars and one schoolboy - Declan Rudd, the goalkeeper who was on duty for England last week.”

Rudd played for England Under-16s on Friday night as they beat Scotland 2-1 at Glanford Park, Scunthorpe, to clinch the Victory Shield.

There is a big incentive for City's youngsters tomorrow night, with a trip to one of England's biggest grounds awaiting the winners.

Said Martin: “We know the winners on the night will be away to Newcastle, a game which I believe will be played at St James' Park, so that's a great incentive.

“We'll be going out and preparing the boys as best we can to try to get through to the fourth round.

“Fratton Park will be an experience in itself. We'll be going down today and staying overnight, which gives the boys the opportunity of preparing in the same way as for a first team game.

“The FA Youth Cup is very, very important for us and although our number one aim at the Academy is to produce young footballers for the club, there is great prestige and kudos in winning the competition. It is a definite aim of mine to achieve - winning the FA Youth Cup.”

Portsmouth are an unknown quantity for the Canaries as they do not figure on their FA Premier Academy League fixture list.

“They came to Colney a couple of years ago for a pre-season friendly, but we're very unfamiliar with them, so we're not sure what to expect. But neither will they be with our little destroyers.”

Norwich City Youth (from) - Arnold, Rudd, Matthews, O'Toole, Spillane, Quaye, McLean, Bexfield, Kelly, Miller, Eames, Lathrope, Yong, Byrne, Martin, Muddel, Smart, Daley, Renton.

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