Chelsea are continuing to prepare for an uncertain Premier Reserve League campaign in the right way.
In an announcement apparently only made (so far) in the club’s official magazine, two further friendly dates have been added to their schedule.
The Blues will host Manchester United on August 8th before a fixture against Blackburn Rovers on August 18th.
Both fixtures are presumably at Cobham, but that remains to be confirmed.
Keen followers of the youth and reserve teams will remember Brendan Rodgers’ side playing a home-and home series against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s boys in August of 2008.
Then, the Blues fell to a 1-0 defeat in the away fixture before a 2-2 draw at Cobham, with goals from Jacob Mellis and Scott Sinclair giving them a two-goal lead before Fábio Da Silva scored a stupendous long range effort and Darron Gibson tied proceedings with a stoppage time penalty.
The level of talent on show that day has already shown to be progressing towards the next level, with Bruma, Mancienne, van Aanholt, Sinclair, Stoch and Di Santo turning out in blue, whilst the visitors included Amos, Rafael, Fábio, Gibson, Cleverley, Macheda and Welbeck.
This year’s encounter promises to be just as exciting and will be played on the same day as the two senior sides clash at Wembley for the season-opening Community Shield.
Holland will be looking to call upon a fresh batch of full-time reserve team players who are taking the jump from youth team level.
Sam Walker, Billy Clifford, Aziz Deen-Conteh, Rohan Ince, Daniel Mills Pappoe, Kaby, Milan Lalkovic, and Marko Mitrovic have all been earmarked for regular duty in the club’s second string and after last year’s FA Youth Cup success will be looking for further glories.
On the other side, Solskjaer will be likely to call on England youth internationals Sam Johnstone, Reece Brown and Will Keane, whilst the French midfielder Paul Pogba and Norwegian striker Joshua King could be involved after excelling at youth team level.
Ten days later, recent rivalries will be restored when Blackburn are the opponents. Chelsea, of course, beat Rovers over two legs in the Youth Cup Semi Finals back in April.
They edged a tight, hotly-disputed affair 1-0 at Ewood Park with each side collecting a red card before a 4-0 drubbing at Stamford Bridge confirmed Dermot Drummy’s boys a place in the Final.
Several of the Rovers team will be making the same step to the next level, doubtless including towering centre-back Grant Hanley and goalscorers Tom Hitchcock and Jason Banton.
England Under-19 international Phil Jones, a superb man of the match on his senior debut against Chelsea in March, may also be called upon depending on first team commitments.
The two fixtures take the Reserves’ pre-season up to a healthy five matches, which kick off in a fortnight away to Crawley Town.
Last summer, the two sides met with a Fabio Borini brace edging a 2-1 victory for a Blues team managed by interim boss Neil Bath.
They return this year before midweek matches away to Woking and Wycombe Wanderers.
Further news on the pre-season, the eventual make-up of the league campaign and the squad to contest it, will, as ever, be here at TheChels and on Twitter @chelseayouth.