Pompey boss wary of Chelsea youngsters' threat
Kenny Jackett believes the majority of Chelsea's under-21 squad could cut it at League One level.
Pompey prepare to face the Stamford Bridge youngsters in the Checkatrade Trophy third round at Fratton Park tonight – and the Blues boss is expecting a technical challenge.
Chelsea have one of the strongest and most sophisticated youth systems in Europe.
Their under-18s have won the FA Youth Cup six times in the past eight years, while their under-21s side includes the likes of England under-17s World Cup winner Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James, who was part of England’s triumphant Toulon Tournament squad.
Although many of the fledgling Chelsea aces have minimal first-team experience, Jackett believes most of their players would be able to meet the demands of the third tier.
The Pompey manager said: ‘If they were suddenly available for loans or looking for loans then they would almost all get League One clubs.
‘Some of them would potentially get Championship clubs – that’s when it becomes appealing to the player and to the management.
‘They’re of a very high standard. When you look at their domination of the FA Youth Cup, having won it six out of the past eight years, it’s an absolute machine in terms of a club.
‘Then you see the fact they beat MK Dons 4-0 at Stadium MK.
‘There will be a high motivation level against us, they’ll have good players.
‘Exactly who is going to play against us is hard to tell, but I saw a lot of them last year and I’ve watched them a few times this season.
‘We know it’ll be slightly different to a typical League One game.
‘Maybe it will be a little bit more technical, but also they’ll have a good standard of player and a good standard of a team.’
After Pompey’s clash against Chelsea, their attention turns to play-off rivals Scunthorpe’s visit to Fratton Park on Saturday.
Jackett believes a victory against the Stamford Bridge outfit would be the perfect way to build momentum ahead of their clash against the Iron.
The Blues boss added: ‘For us, we’ve had the weekend off. We’re fresh and looking forward to a positive week.
‘There are two games this week, which is a great chance for us, and both of them are at home and a good win tonight will build up some confidence and help us gain some momentum going into the Scunthorpe game.
‘I would have been happy to go to Stamford Bridge. In a cup competition, you always want to get through and we do so you will always take a home game.’