Reserve system 'a waste of time'

CHRIS LAKEY Canaries boss Peter Grant has labelled the reserve system as a waste of time after seeing yet another second-string outing bite the dust.


Canaries boss Peter Grant has labelled the reserve system as a waste of time after seeing yet another second-string outing bite the dust.

Grant was hoping to get a rare opportunity to send out a reserve team at Stevenage Borough tonight, enabling some of his fringe players to get much-needed game time under their belts.

But the Conference team have postponed the fixture because of an FA Trophy replay - making that three successive scheduled City reserve games to have been scrapped.

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Since Grant was appointed manager on October 13, he has seen a total of four reserve team games - two at Carrow Road and one at Ipswich in the Pontins Holiday Combination and the fourth a home friendly against Spurs that he organised himself. The only one he has missed was a match at Colchester in December.

With forthcoming fixtures scheduled for next Tuesday, the day of the FA Cup replay at home to Blackpool, and the following Tuesday, the day of the Coca-Cola Championship clash at Preston - Grant has no choice but to send out youth teams.

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“It is an absolute waste of time the way it is structured,” he said. “It does no one any favours.”

Grant says fringe players are suffering because of their lack of game time which, although he has stepped up the intensity of club training sessions, cannot be replicated on the training field at Colney.

“I was expecting to send out some players who are round and about the squad, like Robert Eagle or Paul McVeigh,” said Grant. “They have been out for a while and I feel for those guys because when I play them in the first team they simply can't be up to full match sharpness. Then they get criticised by fans, but why? They haven't played for weeks. There is nothing like playing but we are losing the opportunity.

“It is a big bugbear of mine since I came here. It's all very well trying to get friendly matches organised but it is unfair on the boys. Lads like Rossi Jarvis don't get games, simple as that. He gets selected for England Under-20s but can he do himself justice?

“I feel frustrated for the players.”

Grant has sent Jarvis and Matthew Halliday on loan to League Two strugglers and Ian Henderson to League One Rotherham.

“The loan system is massive for me - but ideally I would like it so I can send one or two out and then bring them back and send someone else out,” Grant added.

“To try and help we have deliberately tried to make training more game related. The players have to wear shin pads because of that and if there is a 50-50 challenge they don't pull out, they gone in as hard as they would on match day. It has to be competitive because you can't put a proper game on during a training session.”

t City reserves' home game with Oxford United has been rearranged for Wednesday, March 28 (2pm) at Colney. The second string's next scheduled outing is on Tuesday at MK Dons (2pm), at their National Hockey Stadium ground.

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