Fakenham ready for Norwich City test
Fakenham boss Wayne Anderson insists the Ghosts will not be overawed when they face a strong-looking Norwich City in tonight's Norfolk Senior Cup fourth round tie at Clipbush Park. (7.45pm)
The Canaries have named a squad featuring Anthony McNamee and Oli Johnson who were both involved in the club's weekend Championship defeat against Portsmouth. Centre backs Michael Nelson and Jens Berthel-Askou could get a chance to stake their claim to replace the suspended Leon Barnett for this Saturday's latest test at Coventry. Fellow professionals Owain Tudur Jones, Luke Daley and Declan Rudd are also included in the travelling party but Anderson is confident the Ridgeons Division One club will provide a competitive test.
'It's all the lads have been talking about since the draw was made to be honest,' he said. 'I don't know what side Paul Lambert will want to pick but looking at the squad you see quality players like McNamee and Johnson who are featuring in and around the first team so they are treating the competition with due respect. For my lads it will be a superb experience and it's our cup final. Norwich should be back in the competition as the premier football club in the county and for us to draw them at home is absolutely fantastic.
'We hope there will be a big crowd and I'm sure with the squad Norwich is sending that will bring a good few Canaries' fans out. They train on a daily basis, we train twice a week and I have lads who will be working up to 6pm and then come straight to the ground so we are under no illusions.'
Anderson insists there will be a competitive edge to the contest in stark contrast to Norwich's usual pre-season summer friendly tour of the local non league scene.
'It's a cup competition and upsets can happen. You only have to look at the FA Cup when league teams go out against non league sides,' he said. 'I've played in one or two of those games and we used to get beat six or seven and I remember watching them a couple of years ago and they won 13-0 - but we won't see that I don't think.
'We have a little bit more about us as a club these days and feel we are gradually moving in the right direction. I have experienced players who have a big physical presence and we will look to play to our strengths. People like Stephen Harvey, Lee Hyde and Tom Rix have played at a higher level with King's Lynn and Jason Cole won the competition with Mattishall last year. In amongst that we have some good youngsters – including the county captain in Dan Savoury - and they give us that energy and freshness.'
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Striker Karl Pask (broken leg) has been ruled out for the season. Jake Betts is also injured and James Bamford suspended.
City academy chief Ricky Martin has warned his young players involved this evening to expect a vastly different contest to last week's FA Youth Cup success over Charlton.
'It will be a different game,' he said. 'The one thing I would say though is maybe our game will be quicker, but if we are slower and we do take our time on the ball I think they will know about it because the tackles won't come from another 16 or 17-year-old they are going to come from a man.
'So that will be a great lesson – 'too many touches, don't be surprised if you get tackled'. That will be the message I will be passing on to them. Go and play, but play at a high tempo and if you dilly and dally on the ball you are going to be caught.'
Norwich City (from): Rudd, Steer, Matthews, Nelson, Askou, Habergham, Gordon, Jones, Stephens, Tudur Jones, Ball, Florence, Clunan, Kellly, Dobbs, Daley, Johnson, Dawkin, McNamee, Oakley.
Admission prices for tonight's game: Adults �6, concessions �3, children (aged under 16) �1 when accompanied by an adult. An extra �1 charge for admission to the Main Stand. Car parking is free. The tie must be played to a finish with extra-time and penalties if required. The winners host Norwich United in the quarter-finals.