Chelsea Under-18s return to action in the FA Youth Cup at Aldershot tonight (Wednesday), with tickets available on the gate at just £3 for adults and £1 for concessions. The tie is also live on the 5th Stand app, kick-off 7pm.
It’s been a successful start to the season for Ed Brand’s young side, who are top of the Under-18 Premier League southern section and in the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup competition. Spirits are high among the group and the team will hope to bounce back from the weekend’s defeat at West Ham, the first for the Under-18s since April 2019.
‘The mood is good,' Brand told the official Chelsea website as we look ahead to the tie. 'I never question that with this set of lads. Their attitude and application to training is always spot-on and they are very focused. The mood is positive and I know they are very much looking forward to the game.’
Tonight will be the group's second game in a week before heading to the Midlands to take on Aston Villa at Bodymoor Heath on Saturday afternoon. It will be a test for the team, who aren’t used to three games in seven days, but one which will stand them in good stead for their careers to come.
‘Recovery is key, we have to be clever and manage the players accordingly, in relation to the amount of work they do out on the pitch but without being too cautious,' Brand explained.
‘Jack Christopher [head of Academy sports science and Under-18s athletic development coach] and Martin Baker [Under-18s physiotherapist] are very good at what they do and emphasise the importance of players looking after their bodies when not working. This type of game week is really important for their development because it’s the world they all want to go into so it’s good preparation from now.’
Read: Armando Broja looking forward to the game
We’ve totalled 47 goals in all competitions thus far, with the workload being shared around the pitch and Brand is happy with the return while also eyeing room for improvement.
‘I’m pleased with the amount of goals we’ve scored this season,' he continued. 'However, I think our numbers should be much higher due to the amount of games we've dominated and chances we have created - I don’t think we’re ruthless enough. It’s something we have spoken about across the season and something we have been more demanding of since the New Year.
‘Although on paper it reads quite a lot of goals, we’re never happy as coaching staff and we think it could easily be higher than it is. That will be the new challenge for the boys going forward, starting from now against Bradford.’
Chelsea Under-18s versus their counterparts from Bradford City in the Youth Cup fourth round takes place tonight (Wednesday) at Aldershot. Kick-off is 7pm and tickets can be purchased on the gate priced at just £3 for adults and £1 for concessions. The match is also being screened live and for free on this website and the 5th Stand mobile app