PLAYING TIME FOR DEVELOPMENT SQUADS

It isn't only in America that Chelsea players are getting in shape and honing their touch for the competitive fixtures ahead. Both the Under-21 and youth team squads have played their first pre-season games, the older group prior to flying for their own training camp abroad.

Northwood FC away was the fixture for the Under-21s, this season's equivalent to the reserves and the match ended in a 0-0 draw.

'Despite no goals it was a very entertaining game,' reports manager Dermot Drummy. 'We had a number of chances but the most important thing was the boys got some fitness, and the first game against a decent Northwood side was also to get their touch back.

'It was 45 minutes for almost all the players with a more senior side in the first half and some promising youngsters played in the second half.'

The Under-21s have now flown to Austria for a training camp which will end on Sunday afternoon with a game against 1860 Munich. A squad of 24 players has travelled, including a select few from the Under 18 squad who beat Torquay United's academy side 12-1 at Cobham in their opening pre-season game.

'The score was favourable but at this stage of the season the score is not of interest to me,' states youth team manager Adi Viveash

'But for the players it is nice to start with a positive result. We played with two different 11s, 45 minutes each, and we came through with no injuries.

'The good thing was we have only been back 10 days but they implemented work we have done in training in the game and there were some very good individual performances.

'Credit to Torquay because they tried to play football which when you are on the end of such a severe result is quite hard to do. We play against Academy sides who would have just knocked it long after we started as well as we did.'

Viveash is now looking forward to a sterner test when his side play at Cobham against Arsenal on Friday and then Bristol City on Saturday. Two games in two days were scheduled because of the big squad of players at this age group.

One team will push up towards 60 minutes of action in one of the games with the other players doing the same the next day. After the weekend they will head to Asia for games in Thailand and Malaysia.

'We have had 22 to 24 outfield players training,' says Viveash, 'including some good schoolboy players and some who have now gone to Austria with Dermot.

'I have eight second years who have still got some progression to make before they reach Dermot's Under 21s squad and we have a big intake of first years, so with some Under 16s as well we have a big pool.'