Cheltenham Town vs Norwich City U-21: Match preview – Robins vs Canaries in battle for top spot

Off the back of Cheltenham’s 3-1 victory over South Shields in the FA Cup, Michael Duff’s side play host to Norwich in the decisive group game of group N in the football league trophy.

Both teams have been on red hot form and already qualified from the group. Norwich have scored 8 goals in 2 games but Cheltenham are yet to concede. Manager Michael Duff is relishing the challenge of taking on the Canaries for top spot in the group.

“These are their biggest games of the season, rarely they’ll be looking to win leagues and win games and of course they want to win but its the development of the players, these games they’ll want to win, they’ll have prepped all week for this game.

Cheltenham Town Manager- Michael Duff

Going into the game as the group leaders Norwich will undoubtedly also be favourites. Duff praised the philosophy and quality of the Canaries squad.

“They seem to have kept the same group together they don’t seem to have too many out on loan either. Different clubs have different philosophies in terms of lots of clubs send all of them out on loan but they seem to have the same group and they seem to be working.

“They’ve got some good players in this competition, some good athletes, some good technical players, they’ve got a good mix. They play a 4-4-2 but its slightly different but its still a variation, so they get the two wide-men really narrow and it’ll be difficult to play against but on the flip-side of that we’ve had a couple of decent results in this competition and we’ll be looking to get another one.

Michael Duff

If we’re not on it we’ll concede goals and that one thing they’ve got in them they can score lots of goals so we definitely need to be at it but there will be chances for people to impress.

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Coming off an impressive FA Cup win against South Shields, Cheltenham are in good form but have stalled and started throughout the start of the season, Duff insists the game will be treated no different to Saturday.

“You’ve just got to deal with what’s put in front of you, they’ll play a completely different way. Obviously they’ll all be very assured, they’ll take the ball in tight areas and they’ve got a set way of playing

“It’ll be a tough game. I think the two results they’ve had already in this competition show that they are strong and they are putting out good performances, it’ll be a tough game.”

Michael Duff

Having already qualified no one could blame Duff for wanting to rest key players but he insists the intensity and opportunity will both be present.

“Everyone needs an opportunity, with the amount of games that are coming thick and fast it is an opportunity. It’s not taking the competition lightly its just it’s just that if you can give people minutes in certain games.”

“I’m sure we’ll make a few changes but as always and as it has been in the last few games we’ve made changes but we’ve wanted to win the game and I think we’ve shown that with our performances and our commitment towards the performances.”

Michael Duff

Qualification from the group was already a milestone achievement for the robins, especially because of the current financial climate, Duff highlighted the financial importance of the Papa John’s trophy.

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“We just want to win the game. So as always we are competitive people, you want to win the finance is a byproduct and its a bonus”

“Every penny counts at the minute and its true. So that’s the facts they go hand in hand but winning breed success whether its monetary or whether its confidence”

Michael Duff

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