Norwich City’s development crew will rise to the Carrow Road occasion
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014
Paul Wilkinson is confident Norwich City's development squad will rise to the occasion when they face Liverpool's Under-21s in Wednesday's Carrow Road clash (KO 7pm).
More than 6,500 free tickets have already been claimed by home fans following on from a national development record crowd of 10,405 who watched the Canaries overwhelm Tottenham's Under-21s earlier this season. Professional development coach Wilkinson backs City's young squad to shine again in front of a bumper home support.
'It's terrific and the Tottenham game, with a 10,000 crowd that night, was like a first-team game,' he said. 'I'm sure it helped Gary Hooper and one or two other senior boys who were involved. Since then Gary has gone on and played regularly in the first team and it just shows you with that sort of crowd there, and with the high tempo, the game becomes like a first-team match.
'It will be another good test for us – we know Liverpool's shape, we know how they play, and they've got a lot of good forward players so it's going to be a real test.'
Ryan Bennett and Mark Bunn will definitely feature for the hosts and Wilkinson is not ruling out using some more members of Neil Adams' fringe first-team squad.
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'Ryan played in an in-house game for us on Saturday and got through 70 minutes, and we'll build him up again ready for Wednesday. It will be great to have him in,' said Wilkinson. 'I would like to hope that with Ryan coming into our team it helps him out as well. If we play the game in the right way and at the right tempo then he'll get what he needs out of the match, which is just as important for the first-team players. Mark Bunn is another who is going to play and there's a strong possibility of two or three others.'
City go into their latest game in the elite tier of development football one point behind the Reds.
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'The nature of football at this level is it can be stop-start in terms of results because the team changes from day-to-day in terms of training sessions depending on if the gaffer needs numbers,' said Wilkinson. 'There is always different scenarios but we have a good run of games now coming up with Liverpool, Manchester United, Southampton and then Monchengladbach, so that is a good set of fixtures.'
• Free tickets for Wednesday's game can still be claimed from the club's usual ticket outlets or by visiting the official website.