Just 18 games for City Reserves
City's reserve team will be down to two matches per month this season after losing their place in the Barclays Premiership Reserve League. The Canaries had to drop into the Pontin's Holidays Combination when Premier League bosses decreed that the composition of their reserve league should mirror the teams in the top flight.
City's reserve team will be down to two matches per month this season after losing their place in the Barclays Premiership Reserve League.
The Canaries had to drop into the Pontin's Holidays Combination when Premier League bosses decreed that the composition of their reserve league should mirror the teams in the top flight.
Having lost opponents such as Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea - games which helped keep the average gate for reserve matches at Carrow Road at almost 2,000 last season - Keith Webb's team will play a reduced schedule of 18 matches, with just two games each month from August to April. Local rivals Ipswich now provide the most attractive opposition.
While wishing they had retained their place among the elite, despite winning just four out of 26 games last term, Webb said the new fixture list was long enough for the squad at his disposal.
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He said: “We would like to have stayed at the higher level but the Premier League have decided to limit it to Premier League clubs.
“We were one of the best supported clubs because we played all our matches on the first team pitch in front of crowds of up to 5,000. But we've just got to get on with it.
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“Two matches a month is probably more beneficial with the squad we've got. We've got to keep ticking over and still be able to put out a half-decent team.
“Last year with the workload laid on the first team we didn't really have enough players to fulfil the fixtures and with the teams we were fielding we sometimes wondered if it was a worthwhile exercise.”
He said City would be unlikely to field many senior first team players in the reserves.
“We will use it as a development side, so two games a month are sufficient for that. We will use the younger members of the first team squad - Halliday, Eagle, Fisk - and senior players when they need a game. But I don't envisage eight or nine of the first team squad playing in reserve team football.
“The game has changed now. If you look at what Arsenal were producing last year in terms of reserve teams, Arsene Wenger doesn't put many senior professionals in. Reserve team football has undergone a big change.
“You still need a stepping stone between youth team and first team but two games a month will give players the opportunity for that.”
Pontin's Holidays Combination
August - 14: Oxford United (a) 7pm. 29: Leyton Orient (h) 7.30pm.
September - Mon 4: Colchester United (h) 7.30pm. Wed 20: Northampton Town (a) 2pm.
October - Wed 11: Stevenage Borough (h) 7.30pm. Wed 18: Luton Town (h) 7.30pm.
November - Mon 6: Ipswich Town (a) 7pm. Mon 13: Southend United (h) 7.30pm.
December - Wed 6: Colchester United (a) 2pm. Tue 12: MK Dons (a) 2pm.
January - Mon 8: Oxford United (h) 7.30pm. Mon 22: Northampton Town (h) 7.30pm.
February - Wed 7: Stevenage Borough (a) 7pm. Wed 21: Ipswich Town (h) 7.30pm.
March - Tue 6: Luton Town (a) 2pm. Tue 20: Leyton Orient (a) 2pm.
April - Mon 2: MK Dons (h) 7.30pm. Tue 24: Southend United (a) 2pm.
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