Norwich City ready for battle for Senior Cup final place
Norwich City U21s' chief Scott Marshall knows his youngsters must earn the right to secure a Norfolk Senior Cup final place in tonight's semi-final trip to reigning Anglian Combination champions Cromer Town (7.30pm).
The Canaries have been tested to the limit on their route to the last four of the county's premier cup competition.
City needed a replay to edge out Thurlow Nunn Premier Division title challengers Dereham before overcoming King's Lynn in an entertaining 6-3 encounter. City's squad is likely to include exciting twins Josh and Jacob Murphy along with Reece Hall-Johnson, Michael Clunan and Adel Gafaiti who were all on duty in Monday's 1-0 Premier League development win over Stoke's U21s at Colney.
'We're delighted to be involved in this competition,' said Marshall, with the winners set to face Ryman Division One North club Wroxham in the Carrow Road showpiece later this season.
'These lads need to play games of football. It is a competition that we have had a decent little run in and we're looking forward to what will be a test for us just 48 hours after the Stoke game. It is a test of the boys' mentality to peak again. King's Lynn gave us a good game and we enjoyed that in the earlier round. We're full-time players so we have got to earn the right like everybody else when that whistle goes.
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'We are looking forward to it. Cup football is a good experience and it won't be easy. We have got to go and cope with the fact that this (Stoke) game will be in their legs still. We have to re-focus and go again. Players are asked to do that week in, week out and they have to learn to show that discipline in terms of how to look after themselves and recover.'
Marshall is confident City's youngsters will respond after a bruising Colney win over the Potters earlier this week.
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'Yes, most of the young lads will be involved again and it is good for them because since Christmas it has been a stop, start feel in terms of the programme so this might be a bit of a shock to the system to play two games in quick time,' he said. 'Overall, I was pleased with the win. It is a physical game so the lads have to get used to coming up against that.
'It won't do them any harm about learning how to use their bodies, competing without giving fouls away and picking up the bits and pieces. It was a day to be doing the dirty jobs and I felt the group did that very well.'
Cromer Town go into the match on the back of a thumping 11-0 win at Hempnall on Saturday, but the victory over the league's bottom side was overshadowed by a serious ankle injury sustained by Liam Landamore, who faces a long spell on the sidelines.
Town are currently sixth in the table, six points behind leaders Blofield with four games in hand. Their progress has been hampered by on-going drainage problems at Cabbell Park ground which have led to a number of postponements and their replay against Diss in the previous round being switched to Holt.
Admission tonight is £6 for adults and £1 for children.