It’s Chelsea versus Bristol Rovers in the EFL Trophy this evening (Tuesday) as we make the trip to the Memorial Ground for the second Group F fixture of this season’s competition.
The game takes place at 7.45pm in Bristol and here we preview the action...
Chelsea will take confidence from a strong league start into the senior competition. Four wins and two draws in six league games finds Andy Myers’s side at the top of the Premier League 2 table. Meanwhile, the opening Group F fixture in the EFL Trophy handed Myers his first victory on his development squad managerial debut over League Two outfit Swindon Town.
Thus far, Bristol Rovers have enjoyed four victories and three draws in League One, tasting defeat on three occasions this term. The Pirates were on the losing side of their first EFL Trophy tie, Plymouth Argyle claiming the points after overcoming Graham Coughlan's side 5-3 on penalties at Home Park.
From the dressing room
Chelsea’s development squad ran out 2-0 victors at St. Mary’s on Saturday afternoon but despite remaining unbeaten in PL2, boss Myers sees room for improvement.
‘It was good to come out of the game unbeaten,' he said. ‘Going into it, I don’t think we started as well as we have done in previous games. I’m not sure why but I know the conditions were a little bit different with it being a much hotter day.
‘I think we lacked a little bit of intensity and at the end of the first half we were probably lucky to come in goal-less. In the second half, the intensity went up a little bit and we made a couple of changes to the shape which seemed to steady the ship and then we took control.’
Callum Hudson-Odoi continued his recovery from an Achilles injury by featuring for 75 minutes in Hampshire. His strike opened the scoring for the Blues and Myers highlighted Billy Gilmour for his part in the move for the goal.
‘It was a great through ball by Billy and Callum made a great run off the back of the defender to slot home.'
‘It was good to see Callum get the goal but also good to see Billy keep up the good form he's in after coming back from injury. It was a great ball to assist.'
Clinton Mola notched the second goal of the game to wrap up the points for Chelsea and Myers was pleased for the defender to get on the scoresheet.
‘After the goal, I still don’t think we were as good on the ball as we should have been but the corner came in and there was a debate whether it went in but we will take it as it is, Clinton Mola at the back stick,' he added. ‘It’s good for Clinton because he’s been playing really well.'
Myers believes the squad are relishing the battle in the senior competition and feels as though these type of games will only aid their development.
‘We’ve got a difficult game coming up against Bristol Rovers which we will be relishing. It’s a competition which the boys really want to play in because for a lot of them, it’s the next step of where they may go on loan,' continued Myers. ‘It will be a different challenge and we are really looking forward to it.
‘Last year and the year before, we have done really well in this competition, getting to a semi-final and then the quarter final last year, which shows how the players are adapting.
‘It was a good win against Swindon, we were playing some good football but also competing. Now we are ready to go again and it will be pretty similar I would have thought. At times it will be quite physical and a bit of a challenge but it’s what the players need for their development.’
Chelsea played hosts to Bristol Rovers in August 2016 when the sides were drawn together in League Cup action.
Peter Hartley halved the deficit after Michy Batshuayi and Victor Moses had put the Blues head but moments after the visitors scored, the Belgium international struck again to put us 3-1 up going into the break.
Ellis Harrison pulled one back from the spot but it only proved to be a consolation as Antonio Conte’s men comfortably held on to progress through to the next round.
How to follow
Ticket information for tonight's cup tie can be found here.
If you can't make the game, we will have live updates via our @chelseafc Twitter account.