Norwich City development chief Mark Robson faces a tough Arsenal baptism
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City development chief Mark Robson knows Arsenal's Under-21s will provide a tough baptism for his first game in charge in Tuesday's U21s Premier League Cup tie at Carrow Road (7pm).
Arsenal's seniors are top of the pile in the Premier League and on the verge of qualifying for the later stages of the Champions League and Robson views the young Gunners as a perfect test on home soil for the Canaries' emerging talent. Robson has spent the past fortnight getting to know his new charges following a coaching stint with the FA.
'We've had a good two weeks of training and the boys have responded really well to me and I am absolutely delighted with the work ethic they have shown as well,' he said. 'Some of the quality that has been on show has been great. If we can bring that into the game then I am hoping we have a good performance in us. The boys have been really good and have taken everything on board that I have wanted from them. The fact we haven't had a game is a bonus in that respect but this is an important competition for us. We want to be playing games and to do that we have to win football matches.
'We've done our homework on Arsenal. They are always going to produce good players and have done so down the years. We know it will be tough but we also know what to expect. It will take some time for them to really get to grips with it but hopefully we'll start to see some of that coming to fruition against Arsenal.'
Robson's squad is likely to include the likes of Josh and Jacob Murphy along with many of last season's FA Youth Cup winners who are now regularly competing at development league level.
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'Playing at Carrow Road should be special for these boys. It's a lovely stadium and a great pitch to play on and it is nice to play in front of our fans,' Robson told the club's official site. 'We want to give them something to cheer. I know they are looking forward to it and I want to get a performance which reflects what they have been doing in training.
'We've hda a lot of high intensity sessions with a good tempo and ideally once they move from here upto the first team that is the sort of standard we are trying to set these players. We want the same sort of intensity in our work. The opportunities are there at this club if they are good enough. You have to work hard to get there and that is something I will be preaching to the players. Of course you also want to do well in games. I am a winner, I don't like losing but the focus is on producing players and if you win games then that is an indication things are right.'
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Norwich and Arsenal are two of nineteen Category One academies who enter this season's inaugural competition at the round of 32 stage. Games must be decided on the night with the competition culminating in a two-legged final scheduled for next March.
• Tickets for tonight's game are priced £3 per person and can be purchased in advance from the club's usual ticket outlets or the ticket office prior to the match. The Jarrold Stand only will be open.
• City's on-loan striker Jamar Loza scored for Coventry City's under-21s on Monday in a 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United's under-21s.