With June coming to an end, impatient domestic football fans are turning their attentions towards pre-season football.
Whilst Chelsea’s first team are heading off to Asia for much of the month, their youth and reserve teams are in action on domestic shores and there will be plenty of action to look out for.
Players have been returning in dribs and drabs throughout this week ahead of a full scale return to Cobham next week, and there will undoubtedly be a keen anticipation for everyone on site as Andre Villas-Boas gets to work.
Steve Holland’s reserve team are currently slated to take in three matches against relatively local opposition, starting with a trip to football league new boys Crawley Town on June 16th.
A young Blues side lost 3-0 at Broadfield Stadium in the same fixture last summer and Steve Evans’ side will pose a stern threat once again.
Two weeks later, Chelsea will return to a venue relatively familiar from recent summers, but their trip to Hampton & Richmond Borough’s Beveree Stadium will be their first in three years.
Under Brendan Rodgers the team played there in 2006, 2007 and 2008, whilst the club’s ladies team formerly called the ground home.
The date was originally slated to have featured two Chelsea XIs in action, but a proposed friendly away to Bromley has now been moved back by a week and will instead be played on August 6th.
The trip to Hayes Lane hasn’t been made for some considerable time but the Conference South side are a capable team and will present Holland with another stern test.
There are a number of free dates in the summer calendar for the club to add extra fixtures, which they are fairly likely to do. It was previously reported that they would be involved in the ‘NextGen Series’ but with that not materialising, followers will need to wait until plans for next season’s domestic reserve campaign to be announced.
Proposals for the Elite Player Performance Plan include a revamp of Under-21 football in England and whilst it is believed that they have been approved, it is not yet known whether changes will come into effect now or in twelve months’ time.
Down in the Under-18s, Dermot Drummy and his staff will make the traditional annual trip to Austria, a break which takes in a couple of matches and some off-field activities to help the incoming first year scholars blend in with the existing group.
They will face Colchester’s youth team at Cobham in mid June before a an East Midlands double header at the start of August, with Nottingham Forest and Derby heading to Surrey.
The boys then head up North for a three-day tournament at Manchester United’s training ground involving the hosts, Arsenal, Tottenham and Aston Villa. It is unfortunately behind closed doors.
Of course, news of how the teams get on, and if there are any changes or additions to the schedule, can be found here on TheChels.net and on Twitter by following @chelseayouth.