ACADEMY SIDES ADD TO PRE-SEASON WINS

Pre-season preparations continued for the Chelsea Under-21 and Under-18 squads this midweek with one playing in Derbyshire and the other hosting Derby.

There was also the chance for Dermot Drummy to work with his players at the FA's new training headquarters near Burton-on-Trent.

'In the last few days the Under-21s played two teams with ex-Chelsea players as manager,' explains Chelsea Academy manager Neil Bath. 'They played Colywn Bay who are managed by Frank Sinclair and Ilkeston who are managed by Kevin Wilson, and it is important we try to support them and have an affiliation with our former players.

'But with one of the clubs in North Wales and one in the Midlands, we decided to spend a few days between the games training at St George's Park.'

The sessions concentrated on individual improvement according to plans worked out between each player and the staff throughout the year. There were some interested spectators too.

'Clubs visiting and supporting the national centre gives an opportunity for the coaches there to see the talent available,' says Bath.

'For instance Noel Blake, the England Under-19 coach, watched Dermot's training session and it was also an opportunity to have some discussions with those coaches.

'The two games the Under-21s played were very well supported by the local communities and the hospitality was first class.'

This week's match against Ilkeston ended in a 5-1 Chelsea win, with the Blues adding to two first-half goals with a third 10 minutes into the second half before the Northern Premier League team pulled one back. The Chelsea fourth came 10 minutes later with the scoring completed with quarter-of-an hour left to play.

'We are performing at a really pleasing level,' reports Under-21 manager Drummy.

'We are playing two teams in each game but the endeavour and style of football is there from the boys, and we are scoring goals.

'It was tough opposition put out by Kevin Wilson and [coach] Darren Caskey and it was a good performance. Lewis Baker (pictured above) scored a wonderful goal with a little lob with the outside of his boot and John Swift who also scored now has five goals in pre-season.

'Overall it has been a really pleasing trip away and boys are conducting themselves very well and working hard.'

In Wednesday afternoon's Under-18 game against Derby at Cobham, Adi Viveash's side won 3-1. The starting line-up was an older one than had played against Stevenage at the weekend with only one schoolboy in the initial 11.

George Cole (pictured below) opened the scoring in Saturday's game and after having an early free-kick saved, with the rebound not quite falling to Dean Conroy, he did so again but this time from the penalty spot. Chike Kandi was fouled and the No.10 slotted the spot-kick into the bottom corner.

G Cole


Dominic Solanke had a shot saved from a chance made by Charly Musonda before Anjur Osmanovic, another scorer against Stevenage, stroked in a free-kick impressively to make it 2-0 right on half-time.

It was a much-changed and much younger team in the second half and Derby pulled one back from a set piece, but schoolboy Tammy Abraham made it 3-1 with a nicely worked goal. The visitors missed a good chance near the end but it also needed a good save to prevent Kandi adding to the Chelsea total.