Our development squad will head to the Emirates Stadium early in the new year to take on Arsenal for a place in the Papa John's Trophy quarter-finals...
The young Blues, managed by former Chelsea defender Andy Myers, will take on their counterparts from north London on Tuesday 11 January. Kick-off at the Emirates is 7pm and ticket details will be confirmed shortly, with capacity capped at 5,000.
We have reached the last-16 after coming second in a group containing League One Cheltenham Town, as well as Exeter City and Bristol Rovers from the fourth tier of English football's senior pyramid. In the first knockout round back in November, Myers's men triumphed on penalties away at Forest Green Rovers following a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes.
This is the first time our youngsters have reached the last-16 in the competition since a team featuring Conor Gallagher, Billy Gilmour and Tino Anjorin were beaten by Peterborough United in 2018/19. Our best showing in EFL Trophy, which first invited academy teams to participate five years ago, was in 2017/18 when current men's first team assistant coach Joe Edwards guided us to within a penalty shoot-out of a trip to Wembley as were beaten on spot-kicks in the semi-finals by Lincoln City.
Arsenal are currently fourth in PL2 and knocked out Ipswich Town in the last round. As a result of this date being confirmed, our Premier League 2 home fixture against Leicester City, originally scheduled for Monday 10 January, will be rearranged. A new date will be announced in due course.
Academy action therefore resumes with our table-topping Under-18s away at Aston Villa on Saturday 8 January.