Our development squad return to action with a Cobham clash against Leicester City this lunchtime as the 2021/22 Premier League 2 season continues following the festive break.

The young Blues have 14 points from as many games in the under-23 league so far this term and currently sit nervously above the Division One trap door ahead of the resumption against a Foxes side currently two places and two points ahead of us.

With some of his usual group likely to be involved with the men’s first team for this evening’s FA Cup tie against Chesterfield, it could be another testing task for Myers’s men but as he reflects on the first half of the campaign, he does so with the bigger picture firmly in mind.

‘We can see the players are starting to mature and respond to the work we do with them daily in order to play Tuesday and then Friday, with seven or eight games a month,’ Myers tells us ahead of the game.

‘These boys have stood up to that challenge and hopefully we will see an improvement in results and individual performances as they get used to the demands of senior football.’

The team have won three, drawn five and lost six of their league encounters to date, though have progressed to the last-16 of the Papa John’s Trophy, which continues next week at the Emirates against our counterparts from Arsenal.

As he looks ahead to the remaining months of 2021/22, Myers admits there will be a battle to stay up in the league but that must be balanced with the need to keep developing the individuals within his group.

Of those, Harvey Vale, Jude Soonsup-Bell and Xavier Simons debuted for Thomas Tuchel’s side at Brentford in the Carabao Cup last month, while Charlie Webster, Lewis Hall and Teddy Sharman-Lowe have all been regularly training with the seniors in recent weeks.

‘Our biggest job is to improve the players and I’ve seen the biggest improvement in the maturity,’ continued Myers.

‘We went 11 games unbeaten but we also drew a lot of those and hopefully I’m right in that this year we will see an evolution and progression, with hard work ensuring we get what we want.

‘It’s important that we stay in the league but we are in the business of player development. Winning competitions is great but we want to develop players and we have been successful in that over recent years. That’s the goal and we’ll keep giving our best to ensure it continues to happen.

‘If we see an improvement in the players across the board then hopefully we’ll see the results improve as well. There’s still a lot to play for. You always want to win when you play for a club like Chelsea but that mentality has go hand-in-hand with ensuring each individual is developing.’

Chelsea versus Leicester City in Premier League 2 kicks off at 12.30pm from Cobham. Entry is not permitted for spectators but there will be a match report on the official Chelsea website and the 5th Stand app shortly after the final whistle. Our Under-18 Premier League trip to Aston Villa, originally scheduled for today, has been postponed and rearranged for Tuesday 25 January, 1pm kick-off.