Home security is key for Norwich City’s FA Youth Cup boss Neil Adams
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Home advantage in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup final could be crucial to Norwich City's chances of lifting the trophy for only the second time in their history, according to under-18s boss Neil Adams.
The young Canaries face holders Chelsea at Carrow Road tonight (7.45pm), hoping to make the most of familiar surroundings and a bumper crowd and give themselves a lead to take into the second leg at Stamford Bridge on May 13.
Clubs traditionally tend to prefer the second part of a two-leg tie to be on home territory, but Adams is happier with the games this way round, wary of the Londoners' formidable home record.
'Chelsea beat Blackburn 4-0 in the first leg of the final at Stamford Bridge last year, so if I'm being honest, I prefer the first leg at home without a doubt, particularly the amount of support we're going to get,' he said.
'We're looking at between 15,000 and 20,000 and that's always going to inspire and help players and hopefully we're in a good position going to Stamford Bridge.'
Chelsea enjoyed a 4-1 aggregate success in the 2012 final and Adams admitted: 'Blackburn suffered at Stamford Bridge. The tie was effectively over in the first leg, so I think we have that bit of an advantage with the support we're going to have tonight.
'I'm really looking forward to it – really excited about it and proud to have got this far. It's a massive achievement for the academy and this group of players in particular and we can't wait to have a crack at a really good Chelsea side.'
- 1 Broads Authority moves to prosecute pub over caravans - again
- 2 Part of A47 closed in both directions after crash
- 3 See inside this idyllic family home up for sale with NO nearby neighbours
- 4 EXCLUSIVE: The faces behind City's prospective US investment
- 5 Man claims supermarket fuel was contaminated as he reveals £200 repair bill
- 6 Former coastal restaurant up for auction
- 7 Thousands expected to attend huge four-day steam extravaganza
- 8 M&S to close 32 stores as part of move away from town centres
- 9 Motorcylist in 50s in hospital with serious injuries after tyre shop crash
- 10 Multiple fire crews tackle farm blaze overnight
City have disposed of Queens Park Rangers, Millwall, Birmingham, Everton and Nottingham Forest en route to the final, and while Adams has been careful not to get carried away after each victory, he was always had quiet confidence in his team's capabilities.
He said: 'You take one game at a time and see what's in front of you. We always knew the potential we had in the squad here.
'You need a little bit of luck to keep everybody fit but we always felt on any given day if we put our strongest eleven players out there, we could be a match for any team in the country.
'I think a lot of people thought Everton might turn us over but we were excellent at Everton. We beat Nottingham Forest over two legs and Forest have had good runs in this competition.
'We got through that. We're up against it, for sure, but we're rubbing our hands together to go and have a real good go at it.'
Adams regards City and Chelsea as similar in style, adding: 'We've got pace on the flanks and strength up front and good midfield players as well, so we're similar sides in terms of the way we try to play the game. We try to play it the right way.
'I've watched Chelsea, they've no doubt watched us and we've seen what we're up against but we're flexible. That's the pleasing thing with the group we've got. We've changed the formation and the shape a couple of times now, sometimes within games themselves and one of the main things that has impressed with the lads is we know how to change formations.'
He said his players had grown 'immensely' in stature over the course of their run to the final.
'We're looking to develop them ultimately to go and play in the first team and things like this competition, the media attention we've had and the support of the fans can only be beneficial for the players,' he said.
'We hope one day they'll be playing in front of big crowds week in, week out, having these cameras and the written Press and radio here interviewing them and it's all part of the learning process for them.
'Of course, they've got to do it out there on the pitch but I think the experience they've taken from this season's FA Youth Cup can only be beneficial for them for their long-term development.'