'It really sends a buzz around the place' – Canaries starlets target FA Youth Cup semi-finals
PUBLISHED: 15:02 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:02 27 February 2018
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Another chance to shine in front of the Canaries hierarchy at Carrow Road has City’s academy starlets fired up for tonight’s FA Youth Cup quarter-final (KO 7pm).
David Wright’s under-18 squad host Birmingham as they look to seal a semi-final against Chelsea or Fulham, having beaten Barnsley, Derby and Newcastle so far.
The presence of first team head coach Daniel Farke, sporting director Stuart Webber and majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones gives the youngsters all the motivation they need for their big game.
“Stuart was here on Saturday watching the group train with Steve (Weaver, academy manager) so they’ve got their finger on the pulse, they know everything that is happening,” Wright said.
“It’s great for the boys because they can see that there’s actually a pathway into the first team. If there wasn’t then I’m not sure Stuart would be here on a Saturday morning watching the boys, so it is great for the boys to see that the senior staff really care about the academy.
“It’s great that Delia really cares, and you can see it as well, when I’ve spoken to Delia you can see there’s real passion, she loves the academy.
“And for the fans as well, we’ve got the likes of Jamal (Lewis) and Todd (Cantwell) into the first team and all fans love the homegrown players coming through. I think it’s great, it really sends a buzz around the place, so the more we can do that the better.”
Goalkeepers Fergal Hale-Brown and Ryan Dickerson – who saved a vital penalty against Derby in round four – are both fit again, after U16s keeper Dante Baptiste stepped up for the 4-3 extra-time win over Newcastle in round five,
Forward Jaden Thompson-Brissett and defender Louis Lomas miss out through injury, as City look to start quickly, having come from behind in all their ties so far.
“The boys are aware of it,” said Wright. “After the Newcastle game it was quite a strange dressing room because obviously the boys were buzzing but they were a bit ‘we’ve done it again’ because it took 45 minutes to get going. So it was mixed feelings really, it was great that we were through but it was a bit disappointing that we hadn’t performed, performed like this group can, and I’ve seen on numerous occasions this season this group perform – and when they do, it’s like, wow!”