Norwich City in FA Youth Cup
It is not just the Norwich City first team who have suffered at the hands of long distance cup draws, with the club's academy side embarked on their own FA Youth Cup trek yesterday.
It is not just the Norwich City first team who have suffered at the hands of long distance cup draws, with the club's Academy side embarking on their own FA Youth Cup trek yesterday.
The Canaries' under-18 squad and academy manager Ricky Martin arrived in Devon last night ahead of their second round tie at Plainmoor this evening (7.30pm) - a trip in keeping with the first team's draws away to the likes of Swindon, Yeovil, Paulton and Carlisle during this season's FA Cup, Carling Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
The City youngsters scraped through their first round tie at a handy Dulwich Hamlet side 4-2 on penalties last month, with the game finishing 1-1 after extra-time, and Martin is keen to make sure his side are fully prepared for the threat posed by the Gulls.
Martin said: “We're used to being a travelling club anyway because most of our games in the academy league are in the London area, but this is a hell of a trip and it's important we prepare for the game properly.
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“So we're travelling down the day before to that we get a whole day to prepare ourselves, to have the best possible chance of coming back to Norwich with the next round of the competition to look forward to.
“We're a little bit unlucky as a club at the moment, in terms of these draws, they always seem to throw up a fair bit of travelling.
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“But these things tend to even themselves out and should we be successful in Torquay then we've got the knowledge of a home draw in the next round.”
That third round tie would be played next month against Millwall after the Lions' 1-0 win over Oxford United at the New Den last night.
With the academy's recent success at blooding footballers good enough for Paul Lambert's first team plans, that involvement has prevented some from taking to FA Youth Cup duty - making Martin's job of emulating last season's quarter-final appearance against Manchester City that bit harder.
Tom Adeyemi has not travelled to the south west as he continues to be a part of the Canaries' in-form League One squad, with the midfielder also playing the full 90 minutes for City's second string in the 2-1 win over West Ham's young guns at Carrow Road on Monday night.
Defender Dario Dumic also played the full match against the Hammers and misses tonight's game for family reasons, while right-back George Francomb is still recovering from the thigh injury he suffered in the first half of his full home debut, against Swindon in League One last month.
However, Martin is confident City's next generation has enough strength in depth to carry them into the next round of English youth football's prize competition.
He said: “We haven't got everyone available for various reasons but it is a strong and competitive team so we're expecting a result.
“We're here to produce players for the Norwich City first team. That is what's been happening and it is excellent, and although we want to go as far in this competition as possible, we would never stop that from happening.
“The whole club is about the first team and about giving the manager his best possible squad.”
City had been facing a goalkeeper crisis for tonight's match, after Jed Steer was withdrawn at late notice from Saturday's 3-2 league win over Southampton at Colney after suffering a reaction to a wrist injury he sustained in training.
Remy Matthews stepped in at the weekend, but a school exam was set to leave him unable to travel yesterday and City with the prospect of looking to the Norfolk Schools FA for help.
However, Matthews' schooling commitments have been worked around and he has travelled to Devon with the squad - along with Steer, who Martin declared is fit and ready for selection.
Squad: Steer, Matthews, Brindley, Ekim, Ball, D Stephens, Habergham, A Stephens, Gordon, Oakley, Osemwegie, Clarke, Dawkin, Nwaogu, Drmola.