Injury worries for Matt Jarvis, Carlton Morris and Conor McGrandles following Norwich City Under-23s win
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Progress in the Premier League International Cup may have come at a cost for Norwich City Under-23s, after seeing Matt Jarvis, Conor McGrandles and Carlton Morris all pick up injuries.
Jarvis’ hamstring pull will have been the biggest worry for watching first-team manager Alex Neil, as it potentially disrupts the winger’s comeback from the knee injury which has kept him out of Championship contention this season.
The 30-year-old was making his fifth appearance for the U23s since returning from injury and was looking sharper, with his crosses from the left leading to City’s first two goals in an exciting 4-3 win over Aston Villa U23s last night.
However Jarvis limped off in the 54th minute, shortly after thumping a clearance out of defence, with what looked to be a hamstring strain.
That followed an exit for Conor McGrandles just before half-time, as the Scottish midfielder looked to suffer a setback in his comeback from a serious leg break.
It was also added to by goal-scorer Carlton Morris – taking his U23s tally for the season to eight – limping away when seeing a shot charged down during the second half, to be replaced by Benny Ashley-Seal in the 70th minute.
“It’s the first time Conor’s played two games in quick succession since he’s come back from his double leg break, so he was just feeling a little bit of soreness on his shins,” City U23s coach Dmitri Halajko said of the injury situation.
“It’s too early to say how that will look going forward, we’ll have to see how it shows up but it’s one that we hope it’s not too serious.
“Hopefully Matt managed to catch it before it’s totally gone, we’re not sure yet because it is a little bit sore, but hopefully we’ve managed to catch that one before it went so tomorrow will show more on all three of those injuries.
“Same with Carlton hopefully his isn’t too bad because again he put in a real good performance for us and I’d be devastated for him if that meant he was out for a long period of time.”
Jarvis hasn’t featured for the Canaries first team since the end of last season and Halajko said the former West Ham man was starting to rediscover his sharpness.
“He certainly got the better of his full-back,” he added. “We came in at half-time and that was one of the things that we identified, that Matt had the beating of his full-back.
“And his delivery, he put in four good balls, we scored off two of them so he has that kind of experience when he beats his man to know what type of delivery is needed.”
Besides the injury problems, it was an entertaining and dramatic encounter for the couple of hundred fans who braved the cold at Carrow Road.
The young Canaries came from behind three times, with goals from James Maddison, Morris and 17-year-old Glenn Middleton levelling the scores, before Diallang Jaiyesimi earned the win with a sumptuous low strike in the 76th minute.
Halajko continued: “At half-time the result was in doubt. We weren’t at our best first half, we knew we were going to have to put that right second half and we went to do that from the offset, put right our wrongs from the first half and did enough to win the game.
“So through to the next round and that was the objective at the start of the night.
“I thought our finishing was on a good level, we still could have had a few more but our forward play when we did work the ball into the final third we were dangerous.
“Some of our build-up play could have been better but our final third play, we did always look as if we had goals in us.”
City join Manchester United, Sunderland, Porto, Dinamo Zagreb and Hertha Berlin as group winners who automatically qualify for the quarter-finals, with Athletic Bilbao and Swansea set to complete the qualifiers as the best runners-up.
That looks likely to provide Norwich a home draw against European opposition – as the only team to have won all three of their group games, having also beaten Valencia and Celtic in Group E.
“It’s the first time that the under-21s or under-23s of this club have ever got through to the quarter-finals so that’s a really good achievement and the squad should be pleased, that’s not easy to do,” Halajko said.
“You’re playing against top European and domestic teams and I think we’re in good company in Manchester United, Athletic Bilbao, Dinamo Zagreb, FC Porto, you’re talking good company for Norwich City to be keeping so it’s certainly an achievement for the academy.”
Maddison’s involvement was his first since coming back from a successful loan with Scottish Premiership club Aberdeen, where may yet still return for the remainder of the season depending on City’s business in the January transfer window.
The 20-year-old former Coventry City playmaker was in the thick of the action and demonstrated plenty of the skills which have made his loan away from Carrow Road hotly disputed among fans.
“He’s got real quality on the ball,” Halajko said about Maddison. “I think every time the ball comes to him it looks like something is going to happen.
“His passing in behind their back four is always going to hurt them, he’s the type of player that if you’re playing against him you don’t want him on the half turn in the final third because it’s pretty likely then that he’s going to hurt you.
“He works hard on his set-pieces, I’ve seen him practising loads when he’s at the club, he stays out after (training) practising his free-kicks and all his dead-ball situations so he’s obviously worked hard on those throughout his career and it shows.”
For full reaction to the victory from City U23s coach Dmitri Halajko, press play on the audio player above.