Fledgling Canaries up for the cup

The next generation of Norwich City stars set out on this season's FA Youth Cup adventure tonight (7pm) as they make the long haul to face Sunderland in the third round.

The next generation of Norwich City stars set out on this season's FA Youth Cup adventure tonight (7pm) when they tackle Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

The fledgling Canaries will be hoping for a different result from their last foray to the north east, when City lost 3-1 to Newcastle in the fourth round of last season's competition.

Manager Ricky Martin said: "Sunderland are obviously an academy set up so they're going to be very experienced and have a good foundation of players, and they're currently sitting near the top of their table, so we're expecting a tough game.

"But we'll be going there and making sure we give a good account of ourselves."

Striker Chris Martin scored the Canaries' goal against the Magpies in last season's defeat, and it was his performances in the youth cup which helped propel him into the first team, where his goals helped to ease the loss to injury of Robert Earnshaw last spring - and earned the teenager his first professional deal.

Martin believes the competition provides great experience for City's potential stars of the future.

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"It's certainly something the youth team players look forward to," he said. "All youth team players usually get two attempts, as a first year scholar and then obviously in their second year. They have two attempts in their career to have a real go in the youth cup so that will be at the back of their mind. It could be their last game, or hopefully there could be future games to follow should we be successful.

"It is different. In the FA Youth Cup you get funding for an away game and that enables us to have a bit more luxury travel and stay in a hotel because some of those costs are reimbursed by the home club.

"We use it as an opportunity to give them an idea of what life is like as a first team player and what it would be like to prepare for a first team game.

"If our players are to progress through the academy, which we hope they are, when they go into the first team they are a little bit more prepared for it."

The winners of tonight's tie will play either Blackpool or Macclesfield at home in the fourth round some time after Christmas.

With usual goalkeeper Declan Rudd still recovering from a knee ligament injury while understudy Jed Steer is considered too young under the competition's rules, Martin will have to name a trialist in goal, with either Luke Emson or Byron Cooke making the starting eleven.

Norwich City squad: Luke Emson, Byron Cooke, Luke Daley, David Cooper, Nick Davey, Danny Kelly, Ross Kelly, Damon Lathrope, Tom Miller, Gareth Matthews, Paul McLean, Mark O'Toole, Korey Smith, Jordan Yong, Tom Adeyemi, David Stephens, Sam Habergham, Josh Dawkin.