Norwich City U21s prepare for Old Trafford clash with Manchester United
- Credit: JASON DAWSON
The Theatre of Dreams awaits for Norwich City's academy prospects this evening.
City's under-21s take on Manchester United in the Barclays U21 Premier League, with Old Trafford hosting an U21s game for the first time this season.
The famous 75,000-seater stadium was the scene of a famous victory for the Canaries' senior team in December, where goals from Cameron Jerome and Alex Tettey earned a 2-1 top-flight win. Now Dmitri Halajko's team will try and repeat that success, with several of City's under-18s team likely to be involved, fresh from their dramatic 5-4 win over Middlesbrough in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup last week.
'Quite a few of those players will be in the squad, seven or eight of them,' Halajko said, with the likes of Joe Crowe, Todd Cantwell and Benny Ashley-Seal all previously having played for the U21s. 'We do want to stretch our best players and we think part of that is pushing lads into the under-21s.
'The Youth Cup run has given that age group of players big matches to play in, and on Monday some of them will be going to the in-form team of the under-21s league. The more experience you have of playing in games like that, the better stead you will be in.'
United are three points adrift of leaders Sunderland, with three games in hand, but lost 2-0 at Carrow Road in November thanks to goals from Kyle Lafferty and Jamar Loza.
'We're expecting a hard match. We beat them at Carrow Road but they've beaten everyone quite comfortably since,' Halajko added, speaking to City's website. 'They're quite an experienced under-21s team. They've got players like (Adnan) Januzaj and (Andreas) Pereira who have got first-team experience.
'It's as big a test as it gets: the most in-form team, with some really good players and playing at Old Trafford. That's why we want to be in this league though. In our last six games, league matches and friendlies, we've performed well. The mood should be high and we're hoping to carry that forward.'