Canaries opt for reserve friendlies

Norwich City have pulled their second string team out of the reserve league. The Canaries confirmed yesterday that they will no longer take part in the Football Combination League East and will instead organise their own competitive fixtures at reserve team level.

Norwich City have pulled their second string team out of the reserve league. The Canaries confirmed yesterday that they will no longer take part in the Football Combination League East and will instead organise their own competitive fixtures at reserve team level.

"We have decided to withdraw from the Football Combination this year in order to seek more regular championship reserve fixtures, and more suitable opposition on a regular basis," said chief executive Neil Doncaster.

Canaries boss Glenn Roeder has joined a growing band of managers who believe the Pontin's Holiday Combination League offers insufficient competition for players.

Roeder's reserve team rarely featured first team regulars and he has questioned the validity of playing opponents who fielded little more than youth teams.


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City's decision could open the door for friendly matches with Premier League opposition as well as top local sides like King's Lynn.

Club secretary Kevan Platt said: "We want to test our younger players at a more senior and competitive level and such opportunities have been limited over the last two seasons.

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"The best way to achieve this is to withdraw from the Combination and arrange our own programme of fixtures.

"We will do this in conjunction with the Football League with whatever fixtures they can help us arrange and we will also seek fixtures against Premier League clubs and possibly senior fixtures against local non-league clubs. We remain committed to staging reserve football here at Carrow Road and continuing our award-winning Soccer PM activities designed to attract and entertain the next generation of Norwich City supporters."

City were fortunate that they were able to attract an average home gate of 1,322 for home reserve fixtures last season as they finished second to arch-rivals Ipswich, who finished 17 points clear. It was a league that featured just one other side from last year's Championship campaign, Colchester, and featured two Conference outfits, Stevenage and Grays.

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