Chelsea’s development squad are back in action at Stamford Bridge on Friday night, taking on Brighton & Hove Albion in Premier League 2.
Andy Myers’s side are looking to continue their five-game unbeaten start to the season against the Seagulls and return to winning ways following successive league draws against Tottenham last time out and Manchester City the week before.
They will be boosted by the involvement of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James, who are both set to continue their comeback from respective Achilles and ankle injuries in west London.
Tickets for tonight’s game are still on general sale but will need to be collected from the ticket office. They are priced at just £5 for adults, while juniors (under-20s) and seniors (65 or over) can purchase a ticket free of charge. Tickets will be available right up to kick-off, subject to availability.
Tariq Lamptey has started all five of our games this season and it was the 18-year-old’s stoppage-time equaliser at Aldershot before the international break that salvaged a point for the young Blues against Spurs.
Since then, the diminutive full-back has featured for England at the Under-20 age group, though it is back to club duty now and he is determined to build on the positive momentum generated from our solid start to the 2019/20 campaign.
‘It’s been a good start to the season,’ the teenager told the official Chelsea website in the build-up to the game. ‘We’ve played five matches, we’re unbeaten so far and we just want to keep that run going for as long as possible.
‘Our team is quite young this season and we have a smaller squad but we’ve gelled well and the coaching staff have been able to implement their plans in training. We have a certain way of playing and everyone has bought into that – everyone is working hard in training to get the most out of each other and that’s shown on the pitch.’
Lamptey’s leveller against Tottenham came deep into added time, with the points seemingly about to escape us, though he insists the team’s belief never wavered as they battled back into the game from 2-0 down against their London rivals.
‘At half-time, everyone was determined to turn it around and when we got the first goal to make it 2-1, we were pushing all through the second half,’ he explained.
‘That goal gave us momentum and belief to get the equaliser and I think we could have gone on to win the game if we’d scored a little earlier. It was an amazing feeling for me to score so late on so we can keep our momentum going.’
The defender has been on the books at Chelsea since the age of seven and his impressive form over the past 18 months was recently rewarded when Frank Lampard called him up to take part in training. Yet this was no ordinary session, as Lamptey discovered when he walked out at Stamford Bridge in front of thousands of supporters.
‘The open training session at Stamford Bridge was my first time training with the senior team and it was a real eye-opener for me,’ he continued. ‘There are so many top-class players in the group that it made me want to work even harder to get to that level.
‘Hopefully I can push to train with them more and maybe make my debut at some point because that’s been my aim since I was a little boy - to play for Chelsea.’
The Blues are top of the early PL2 standings, having won two and drawn two of their opening four league matches. Brighton are two points further back and caused problems in this fixture last season, winning 3-2 at Aldershot in October.
‘Brighton are always a tough opponent to play against,’ added Lamptey. ‘They have older players so it’s quite a physical game and very different to our last two PL2 matches against Tottenham and Man City.
‘I enjoy playing against teams like Brighton who offer something different and hopefully we can get the win in front of our fans at Stamford Bridge.’
Kick-off at the Bridge is 7pm. The game will also be screened live here on the official Chelsea website or the 5th Stand app.