City youth trio clinch deals

CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant confirmed his commitment to Norwich City's youth players yesterday by adding three more Academy products to the club's professional ranks.Goalkeeper Steve Arnold, 17, and midfielder Patrick Bexfield and striker Bally Smart - both 18 - have all signed one-year contracts.

CHRIS LAKEY

Peter Grant confirmed his commitment to Norwich City's youth players yesterday by adding three more Academy products to the club's professional ranks.

Goalkeeper Steve Arnold, 17, and midfielder Patrick Bexfield and striker Bally Smart - both 18 - have all signed one-year contracts.

"I think the boys have done very well," said Grant. "I've only come in October and I've seen them a few times, mostly in youth team games, and the boys have done enough to earn that chance and opportunity to come on board. I'm pleased for them as there is a lot of effort and commitment from parents pushing them through and helping them and that's what we've got to try and do to produce more of our own players."


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Bexfield and Smart have been regulars for the reserves this season, but found themselves elevated to the first team squad for the midweek trip to Burnley last month. Smart made an 86th-minute appearance as a substitute for Dion Dublin, although Bexfield had to watch the match from the bench.

Arnold has played 10 times for the reserves this season and joins fellow keeper Joe Lewis in signing a contract this week.

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Academy manager Ricky Martin said: "We are really pleased that the three boys have put pen to paper today on a one-year contract.

"They will be joining Chris Martin and Michael Spillane in their age group and this makes it five out of nine players, which is something the Academy are very proud of."

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