Young talent to shine in Norfolk Senior Cup final between Wroxham and Norwich City Under-21s
- Credit: Simon Finlay
Some of the county's finest young footballers will go toe-to-toe tonight when Wroxham take on Norwich City Under-21s in the Norfolk Senior Cup final.
A host of rising stars from the professional and non-league game will pit their wits against each other at Carrow Road with Wroxham boss David Batch expected to field a youthful outfit.
The Yachtsmen could include highly-rated players Ben Lewis, Ben Jones, Sam Harty, Rio Starkings, Matt Daniels, Jamie Speller, Payton Swatman and former City Academy player Remy Gordon in their squad.
And Batch admits he is excited about seeing how they cope against the Premier League outfit's latest crop who could become household names in years to come.
'We are the underdogs. We're playing against a team from a professional football club, and that's a Premier League professional club. They should be stronger than us in all manner of ways, that's not going to be a surprise,' said the Trafford Park chief.
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'I'm really looking forward to it. I've really enjoyed the season since about Christmas as the young players have started to bed in and show some of their potential. They've got used to playing at the level they've been thrown in at.
'There are three, four, probably five players who will certainly be involved who hadn't even been playing Thurlow Nunn Premier Division (Step Five) football this time last year. To have found their feet, then to have found their feet really well, is a testament to their talent, ability and potential and the excellent recruitment process we've got going on behind the scenes. I'm really looking forward to watching tonight.
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'For me the best young talent in professional football in Norfolk will be up against some of the best talent in the county's non-league game.'
Injuries have forced the village club, who finished 15th in their first season at Step Four of the non-league ladder and have just been awarded £10,169 from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, into blooding a host of rookies this term. Joe Marsden (knee) and ex-King's Lynn Town frontman Jamie Forshaw (hamstring) are both doubtful for this evening's clash. A large number of City's FA Youth Cup winning under-18 team are likely to be showcasing their class in this evening's last county cup final of 2013.
'These players don't play on Carrow Road every week, so the lads will definitely want to make the most of the occasion and come away with the trophy,' said young Canaries' boss Scott Marshall.
Norwich last lifted the trophy in 1989 while Wroxham have won the competition seven times in the past 20 years.