It’s only mid-June and players are still away on holiday, but it’s not too early to look forward to July and the return of domestic football in the form of pre-season friendlies.
Whilst the Chelsea first team will embark upon another tour of the United States, fans back in the UK looking for their fix of live action can take in one of a number of fixtures lined up for the club’s Under-21 team, which takes over from the old ‘Reserve’ moniker ahead of the new season under the revamped EPPP plans.
Dermot Drummy’s charges currently have four dates publicly known, with the potential for more to be added to that. They begin on July 14th away to Hillingdon-based Northwood FC of the Southern Football League Division One Central.
A fortnight later on July 28th the group steps up its preparations with a trip to the Sixfields Stadium to play Adie Boothroyd’s Northampton Town, and the following weekend they are slated to play St. Alban’s City at Clarence Park.
The final scheduled date so far is August 14th, when the Blues will leave English shores and travel to Dundalk for a marquee friendly at Oriel Park.
Chelsea usually take their youth and reserve teams on a brief tour of Austria every summer, as much a group bonding exercise as anything else, and that may also come into the reckoning at some point during July.
Fixtures for Adie Viveash’s Under-18 team are yet to be announced but a rumoured clash against Arsenal on July 21st has been reported, with the younger age groups certainly taking on their red rivals on the same date. Look for the likes of Colchester United and Bristol City to perhaps feature on the youth agenda as the academy has good relationships with those academies and regularly schedules friendlies against them.
Of course, a number of Drummy’s Under-21 squad will harbour ambitions of going stateside, whilst England Under-19 quintent Jamal Blackman, Todd Kane, Aziz Deen-Conteh, Patrick Bamford and Nathaniel Chalobah may be involved in the Three Lions’ European Championship Finals in Estonia.
You can keep right up to date with the latest developments and fixture news on Twitter by following @chelseayouth.