Boss Alan Connell knows his AFC Bournemouth development squad will need to be “on top of our game in every aspect” when they resume their Premier League Cup campaign.
The Cherries lock horns with Norwich City at the Canaries’ Lotus Training Centre on Friday with both teams bidding to defend unbeaten records in the competition (7pm kick-off).
Doubles from Dan Adu-Adjei and Balraj Landa earned Connell’s team a 4-0 win in their opener at Charlton in September before they drew 0-0 with Wolves at Telford’s New Bucks Head last month.
Norwich, currently 13th in Premier League 2, followed up a 2-2 draw against Wolves on home turf in September with a convincing 5-0 victory over the Addicks in early October.
While the Cherries were elevated to category two academy status at the start of this season, the Canaries have been firmly established in category one for the past ten years.
The Cherries, currently second in the Professional Development League, will put on the line their eight-match unbeaten run when they face the Canaries in East Anglia.
Connell told afcb.co.uk: “We’re in good form result-wise and performance-wise.
“We’ve found different ways to get positive results recently. We’ve had some good in-possession quality and there have definitely been times out of possession where we’ve had to show lots of fighting qualities, as we did against Swansea on Tuesday.
“We go into this game in a good vein of form and with a lot of players who are performing well. But we know it’s going to be a really big test at Norwich.
“It’s our third away game in a row in this competition and we are pleased with the four points so far. We know we will need to be on top of our game in every aspect.
“Facing category one opposition is definitely a step up in quality. But I back our players to perform against anyone, especially with the character and togetherness they are showing at the moment.”