Norwich academy chief Martin relishing reserve test

Norwich academy chief Ricky Martin believes the club’s next generation can only benefit from competing in the Barclays Premier Reserve League this coming season.

Martin’s young charges impressed in last night’s 6-0 win at Ridgeons Premier Division Wroxham in a side featuring novice professionals Jed Steer, Tom Adeyemi, Matt Ball and Josh Dawkin. City’s second string will play the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Aston Villa in the southern section – and Martin is looking forward to putting some of the club’s bright young talent to the test.

He said: “That team we had out in the first half could be in contention week in, week out. If they keep performing like that you would hope one or two could then continue to develop and step out of it. We’re not sure what the league is going to be like or how strong it is going to be but we know if we play like we did in this game, week in, week out then I’m sure the manager would take that.

“It will be good to play big, big teams and to experience actually travelling around the country. We’re going to get an opportunity to stay in hotels, to travel pre-match and those are all little routines – along with actually playing evening games. I remember we played Diss in an evening game and for most if not all those players that was the first time they had played under lights. You get used to playing on a Saturday or a Sunday morning and then they have to go and make their first debut perhaps at Carrow Road on a Tuesday. It’s about getting players used to different environments and different stadiums.”

Martin was assisted in the Trafford Park dug out last night by former player and media pundit Neil Adams following the recent announcement Adams had stepped up into a full-time youth coaching role at the club.

He said: “It’s a fantastic move. He is a credit to all the part-time staff who do so much great work behind the scenes. Neil has been here ten years, ever since I joined full-time. He has virtually worked with every age group in the academy. He has done his apprenticeship. Sometimes players who have been in the game get an opportunity because they have played at a high level. Not only has he done that but also because of his coaching experience. He knows how to help players’ develop.

“He was an obvious choice and someone I can trust as a coach. There will be times this season when I can’t work with the under 18s on a daily basis because being in the Premier League means my role changes a little bit. I know I can leave the lads in capable hands. It’s great to have that continuity but it’s also a reward for Neil’s hard work and his dedication.”

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Skipper Patrick Drmola headed City in front against Wroxham last night before Josh Dawkin’s brace and Richard Brindley’s strike put the visitors in command before the break. Young Irish defender Kyle McFadden and Jamar Loza sealed the emphatic win.