Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Norwich City under-18s chief Neil Adams wants his young Canaries to look no further than the threat of Birmingham U18s in tonight’s FA Youth Cup fifth round tie tonight at Carrow Road (7pm).
City will book a quarter-final tie at Everton if they edge past Birmingham, which will evoke memories of Dave Stringer’s 1983 vintage who triumphed in the prestigious national competition at Goodison Park.
Adams, however, is under no illusions Birmingham will present a stiff test after beating Midlands rivals West Brom and Bristol Rovers in the earlier rounds.
“It’s a big game with the prize of a place in the last eight of the competition,” he told the club’s official site.
“It’s something we’re looking forward to, but we know how tough it will be. We are well aware of Birmingham’s strengths as well as weaknesses, but the potential of the tie is there for us to secure a place in the next round.
“I’m pleased with the way we’ve been playing. A few players who we’ve had missing have now been back in the squad and have strengthened us.
“We’ve been playing well in the second phase of the Premier Academy League – where we’ve won two, drawn one and lost one – but we did enough to win all four games and we’ve been pleased with all four performances.
“We know that these games are not all about getting results but developing players – but Tuesday night it is all about the result and if we play to our potential we have a good chance. We know it will be a tough Birmingham side in our way but if we’re professionalin our performance we can hopefully win the game.”
City booked their place in the fifth round with a Harry Toffolo brace to sink Millwall 2-1 at Carrow Road. Toffolo is the latest member of the club’s promising academy intake to earn England age-group honours with a call up to Noel Blake’s national U18s squad for next month’s game against Belgium.
The Norwich youngster is poised to emulate FA Youth Cup team-mates Jacob and Joshua Murphy who have now progressed to the England U19 set-up.
Stringer’s 1983 team beat Everton in a memorable FA Youth Cup final that went to three matches. After winning the first leg 3-2 at Carrow Road, the Canaries were beaten 3-2 at Goodison Park in the return leg.
A 5-5 aggregate score meant a replay, which was played at Goodison on the toss of a coin, but City won 1-0 in front of a crowd of 20,652 with a second-half goal from Paul Clayton.
The three matches were watched by a total of more than 46,000 fans.
It completed a golden season for Stringer’s team, with the South East Counties League title giving them a notable double.
Everton booked their place in this year’s quarter-finals with a 4-2 victory over Arsenal at Barnet’s Underhill ground with goals from Matthew Pennington, Chris Long, Conor Grant and Harry Charsley.
Extra-time and penalties will be played this evening if the sides are level after 90 minutes.
Tickets for the game are priced at £2 per person and available from the club’s usual ticket outlets.