YOUNGSTERS RARING TO GO
Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is looking forward to furthering his FA Youth Cup experience when our Academy side faces Charlton Athletic on Wednesday night.
The 16-year-old was a late substitute in last season's final against Blackburn Rovers having missed a large chunk of the season with injury, following a fantastic start to his Chelsea career, and is now intent on making up for lost time.
'Last season was mixed for me, I started in good form but unluckily got an injury which kept me out for a long time,' he said. 'I'm trying to kick on now having missed a big part of the Youth Cup last season, but I came on for 20 minutes in the final which was great.
'To win a trophy this big and have a medal is brilliant, I'll treasure that, but I want a bigger part now, being in there every game and showing good form to help the team.
'I'm sure we can do well because the youth team has done so well this season, and to have some players who are also playing for the Under-21 team in there as well really helps.'
Loftus-Cheek is one of those youngsters who has made the step up to working with Dermot Drummy's group day in day out, and he has felt the benefit, but is now relishing working with Adi Viveash as the squad prepares for knockout action.
'It's been great training and playing with the Under-21s. I don't get full matches but to be training is good for my development, then coming to the 18s makes it easier,' he confirmed. 'I've been here a long time, since I was seven, so I know everyone really well and it's a good group.
'I've known Adi for ages too because he has moved up as a coach as well, so I have stuck with him and Joe Edwards, his assistant, and I have a great relationship with both of them, they really help.
'The whole group is feeling good. Training has gone well and we've prepared like we did for the previous Youth Cup game at Colchester which served us well.'
Charlton, with home advantage, are expected to prove a tougher opposition than Colchester, who were beaten 3-2 in Essex back at the start of December.
'I don't know too much about Charlton's academy but through the years I have played them they have played a very similar way,' Loftus-Cheek explained.
'We played them last year so we've been looking back at those games and seeing what their strengths and weaknesses are. We had close games and they were a very direct side, so we need to be winning headers and be as powerful and strong as we can.'