UNDER 21S: THE BIG KICK-OFF
Our Under-21s' 2013/14 season gets underway this evening when we face Tottenham Hotspur in a London derby at Aldershot Town FC, and manager Dermot Drummy is confident we can get off to a winning start.
The Chelsea youngsters brought their pre-season campaign to a halt with a 2-0 win at Hendon on Tuesday, and following a string of impressive displays over the course of the summer - which included a tour of the US - Drummy believes we can benefit from the intense competition for places going into our season opener.
'We play Tottenham tonight and the players are all hungry to get in the team, which is what I want,' he tells the official Chelsea website. 'I want players competing for positions and at the moment I sense a really hungry appetite to be in the side.
'I'm always confident with the way we play, these players give you that confidence. We're playing Spurs, which won't be easy because they're a very good Academy, but nevertheless we want to go into the game and impose our style of play.
'We want players fighting for places and we want Jose to come and look at the standards the boys are setting.'
Tonight's game marks the beginning of a new season which will see our Under-21s play more games than ever before. Drummy, though, believes the increased number of matches should serve as a positive for players eager to stake their claim.
'We didn't play Tottenham last season because the league was split, but now we play everybody once,' he explains. 'We've also got an Under-21 cup, the NextGen and an Under-19 UEFA Youth League, so there are lots of good competitions for these boys to impress.'
The match is free to attend for all supporters, and Drummy encouraged fans to come along and get behind his young side as we look to begin the new season in positive fashion.
'It's free for supporters so it would be great if they can come along and get behind us,' he says. 'One thing we can guarantee is that we'll play exciting, attacking football.'
Nathan Ake, who has signed a new contract with the club, is expected to be involved in tonight's game.
Tonight's game is free for all supporters and takes place at Aldershot Town, kick-off 7.05pm.
The game can also be seen live on Chelsea TV.