Get the lowdown on the young Saints’ weekend opponents, ahead of a trip to Chelsea's Cobham Training Centre...
Chelsea U18s vs Southampton U18s
Under-18 Premier League
Saturday 12th January, 11:00am GMT
Cobham Training Centre
The Under-18 Premier League's third place side Chelsea were narrow 3-2 victors over Leicester City in their first outing of 2019, having raced into a three-goal first-half lead.
Jon Harley, whose standing in for regular coach Andy Myers, was impressed with the young Blues' directness, but knows that Saints, who come into this weekend's tie off the back of a 5-1 triumph over West Ham, will pose challenges if they don't tighten up at the back.
Paul Hardyman's youngsters also gained three points in their first encounter of the year, comfortably despatching the Hammers at Staplewood, and moving into the top half of the table as reward.
Fielding a relatively young side, Saints overpowered their West Ham counterparts from the off, and will glean plenty of confidence from their biggest margin of victory so far this season.
LAST SEASON: Saints 4-0 Chelsea (Hamblin, Hale, Klarer, Obafemi)
COACH'S THOUGHTS: Paul Hardyman
“We’ll go into the Chelsea game with a positive attitude again. Last week [in the 5-1 win against West Ham], we played every single first year scholar so that’s a real plus.
“We gave them the opportunity and they took it which proves they’re learning as well. It’s now our chance to go and play against one of the better Academy sides in Category One and test ourselves.
“The main thing for me is that the players learn from whatever experience they get, whether that be a positive one of a negative one. That’s what we’ve talking about throughout the season and there’s been some real good work from our young lads in that respect.
“There’s been a lot of good work that’s been done as everyone can see hopefully with the players progressing and getting into international squads which is a real positive.
“Results are one thing but the development of the players is always in my mind. Getting Kayne Ramsay through to the first-team is fantastic and getting players into the Under-23s is my first step and we’re starting to do that now.
“I’m pleased with how it is all going and the results on a Saturday are what they will be. We’ve been able to give a lot of the first year scholars some game time now which is another positive so things are looking really good for us at the moment.
“From outside the club before I came here, it was an Academy that is renowned for producing players and getting them into the first team. To be able to do that, there has to be an opportunity from the manager and he’s then got to realise that the players are good enough.
“He’s given them that chance and some of the Under-23s have stepped up as we’ve seen and there have been a number of debuts this season and everyone has had their input.”