Norwich City Under-18s set for long trip to Sunderland in FA Youth Cup

Todd Cantwell, pictured in action for Norwich City U21s against Liverpool earlier this week, is part

Todd Cantwell, pictured in action for Norwich City U21s against Liverpool earlier this week, is part of City's U18s squad which will travel to Sunderland in the FA Youth Cup. Picture: Jason Dawson/Jasonpix - Credit: Archant

If the current Norwich City Under-18s squad is to enjoy success in the FA Youth Cup this season, they will have to do it the hard way.

The young Canaries won 3-1 at Hull City in the third round of the competition on December 2 but have had to wait to discover their fourth round opponents.

That was decided on Friday night when Sunderland won 5-1 at Mansfield Town, setting up a trip to the north-east for City's under-18s, with a date yet to be confirmed.

The draw for the fifth round has also been made, with a trip to either Tottenham Hotspur or Middlesbrough awaiting the Black Cats or the Canaries.

City's professional development phase lead coach Dmitri Halajko, speaking after the club's under-21s drew 0-0 with Liverpool in front of more than 9,000 spectators at Carrow Road on Monday night, admitted the FA Youth Cup draw is a difficult one for the under-18s.

'That will be a tough game,' Halajko said of the Sunderland tie.

'Obviously it's a long way for them to go, so some of them won't be used to travelling that far, so that's a new experience for them.

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'And then Sunderland, they're a Category One club, like we are, they're a Premier League club like we are, they've got a good youth system.

'You've just got to look at Duncan Watmore, who's come through their system, who was up against us last year, to see they do produce players.

'So it was probably one of the top-10 hardest teams you could have been drawn against and the fact it's away and all that distance makes it harder. So it'll be a tough test but we have players like Todd Cantwell, Joe Crowe and Glenn Middleton available for that squad so those should make that team even stronger.'

The young Canaries will be looking to repeat some of the success enjoyed by the class of 2013, when the likes of the Murphy twins, Harry Toffolo and Carlton Morris lifted the trophy.

Halajko said; 'The FA Youth Cup does make our youth team come alive. There's no doubt the players look forward to it, the week before it there will be a buzz about the place.

'Graeme Murty (U18s coach) will get the lads really focused, they'll do all their preparations and it's a highlight of the year for the players so they'll certainly be on it and they'll do their best up there.'

All fourth round ties must be played by Saturday, January 16 and all fifth round ties by February 6.

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