Reserve system slammed by Grant

Peter Grant has slammed the reserve team system, insisting players derive more benefit from going out on loan than playing in meaningless second string games.

By CHRIS LAKEY

Peter Grant has slammed the reserve team system, insisting players derive more benefit from going out on loan than playing in meaningless second string games.

The Canaries reserves play in the 10-team Eastern Division of the Pontins Holiday Combination - made up of two Conference sides, two from League One, and one from League Two, as well as five from the Championship.

It's a far cry from last season when City took on the might of Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs before their relegation status kicked in and they were thrown out of the Premiership reserves league.


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The reserves will play just 18 games this season, many of which are rendered meaningless because of the very nature of reserve team football, which, as it is often used to blood youngsters and help nurse senior players back to fitness, lacks a competitive edge.

It's one of the reasons why Grant has willingly allowed two of his players, Andrew Cave-Brown and Andrew Fisk, to join Southern League Premier Division outfit King's Lynn on loan - and why others may follow.

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“If I have a full squad of players - and hopefully get some people in in January - that is something I will utilise,” he said.

“I think with the amount of reserve games and the way the reserve structure is run now it is very poor. I don't think there are enough games.

“I think even reserve team football for some boys is not enough, because there is not enough of a challenge in it. I don't mean that they're playing against ordinary players, but it is a different type of game than you get in men's football when there is an expectation of winning games, a little bit more pressure on you and sometime that can make them grow as players.

“It is something I will look at - I would rather players go on loan than actually play in the reserves.”

Grant lost his reserve team manager this week when Keith Webb took over at King's Lynn, and confirmed yesterday that Academy boss Ricky Martin will take charge until. the end of the season while he considers a replacement.

“I am not going to rush it because the reserve fixtures aren't weekly,” he said. “It will be someone who is going to come in as a coach for the first team and will take the reserves. I have a few names in mind but at this moment in time I will let it lie and make sure I make the right decision.

“Myself and Martin (Hunter) will do the first team coaching, Ricky Martin will take the reserves between now and the end of the season as part of his Academy work, but because Dave (Williams) takes the 18s Ricky will actually be with the reserves on match days so he will help me out during that period - but he will remain the director of the academy.”

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