Chance for Norwich City reserves to stake claim
Norwich City's promotion brings Blackburn to Carrow Road tonight for the first Premier League reserve fixture of the new season (7pm).
City's second string will face the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea in the course of a 22-game season which Paul Lambert is keen to use as a stepping stone for the club's younger talent.
'I think we had to go into the reserve league for the younger players,' he said. 'It is important for their development. We never went in it last year and you hope a few players will thrive on it and get a chance to play against some good sides.'
Lambert could, however, use this evening's test against an expected youthful Rovers outfit – which may feature Dereham teenager Jackson Ramm – to get game time into some of his senior men who missed out at Wigan in the Premier League opener.
The likes of Chris Martin, Aaron Wilbraham, Simon Lappin and Korey Smith were omitted from the matchday squad at the DW Stadium.
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Only the Jarrold Stand will be open to spectators tonight. Tickets are priced at �3 per person with no concessions and no free entry for season ticket holders.
• Meanwhile, former City defender Steven Smith revealed he was desperate to kickstart his career again after completing a permanent move to Preston.
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Smith played the last six minutes of North End's 1-1 League One weekend draw at Scunthorpe after cutting his ties with the Canaries. Smith endured a frustrating spell at Carrow Road following his free transfer switch from Rangers last summer.
The 26-year-old made just seven senior appearances under Lambert and returned north of the border for an extended loan spell at SPL club Aberdeen last season. The Scot now just wants regular football after signing a one year deal with the option of a further year.
'From the first moment I met the manager I knew this is where I wanted to come,' he said. 'Phil Brown is the kind of manager who players want to play for and I'm glad to be here.
'I'm primarily a left back who can also play left midfield. It is a position I enjoy playing, I like to get forward and enjoy a tackle.'
Brown consulted namesake and current Dons' boss Craig Brown before making a move for Smith.
'We have been looking for a natural left footed player to come in and I'm delighted we have got someone with the calibre and pedigree of Steven Smith,' he said.
'Former Preston manager Craig Brown has given me some great advice about Steven and we have decided to bring him in. 'Steven now has to get up to speed with the fitness levels of the present squad and I'm looking forward to working with him.'