UNDER-19S PREPARE FOR AJAX TEST

With worldwide competition dominating the headlines, it would be easy for Wednesday's European Under-19 encounter to slip under the radar, but our NextGen squad faces an important clash against Ajax at Aldershot.

In a game open to supporters, we face the Dutch side for the first time in this season's competition, needing to get the better of them over two legs in order to reach the knockout stages of the NextGen Series, a competition that pits the development squads of some of Europe's biggest clubs against each other.

Ajax, of course, have been responsible for producing some of the best talent seen not only in Dutch football, but in Europe, from Johan Cruyff to Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, Dennis Bergkamp, Edgar Davids and Edwin van der Sar to the younger batch of Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder.

Youngsters continue to graduate, but they have not lifted the European Cup since 1995, and Drummy believes the occasion may mean more to him than his squad, who will want to show their superiority.

'I was thinking about it the other day and for someone of my generation it is a huge game because of the players Ajax have produced and their reputation around the world for producing talent,' he said.

'It's fantastic for me, because I've watched a lot of players that have come through at Ajax, and as a coach at Arsenal I regularly saw Dennis Bergkamp, who is one of the best players ever from Holland.

'I'm not so sure how the younger players view it, because Ajax haven't been regulars in the Champions League of late, and certainly not in the later stages, so it's interesting how the focus differs. The coaches will be thinking about Ajax and how they play, while the players have a perception that we're Chelsea and we will go and play our game.

'Either way it's fantastic for us and good to pit our wits against them, which will only help to develop the players too, regardless of the result.'

Placed in third place behind the Amsterdam side and the already-qualified CSKA Moscow, we must remain unbeaten over the next two games, one either side of Christmas, to overtake Ajax, with Molde well adrift at the bottom of the table.

It is a big ask, but one Drummy believes his men are capable of, despite absentees.

'We want to get the result without a doubt, and need to get the better of Ajax over two legs, which brings some pressure for us. We've some exciting young players coming through, who are working with Adi in the youth squad, and it's nice for me to work with them and see how they do at the next level,' he explained.

'We have a frequent discussion about winning matches against development, and we do want to create a winning mentality, but we also want players to improve, so someone like Patrick Bamford could play in this competition, but what's best for him is to go out on loan at MK Dons, and we wouldn't want to stop him doing that for the sake of this competition, and that's important for people to understand,' but we have a talented group and I'm looking forward to seeing how they do.'

Entry to Aldershot Town's EBB Stadium is £5 for adults, and £1 for concessions.