Senior Professional Development Phase Coach Pat Lyons spoke to RamsTV ahead of Derby County Under-23s’ Premier League 2 - Division 1 clash with Chelsea on Saturday (12pm kick-off).
After two weeks without a game, Lyons said the international break has been ‘good’ for his squad and revealed that after a positive week of training and in-house games the squad have looked really bright and fresh following their breather from club football.
Lyons is hoping to build on what has been a positive start to the season for the Under-23, but admits it will be a difficult task taking on the Blues.
Lyons told RamsTV: “Chelsea are one of the best academies in the country if not Europe and you just have to look at the England game last night with Reece James and Mason Mount; two young players that have come through their Academy are now playing in the England senior team.”
After acknowledging the success of Chelsea's Academy, Lyons certainly still backs his boys this weekend, saying: “We’ve always had decent games against them to be fair; last year we had a 3-3 draw at their place and we were 3-1 up.
“They’re a very athletic team, very technical but it will be a good challenge for our players to go there with confidence on the back of the results and the performances that we have done and we will go there and see if we can get something from the game.”
Summer signing Bobby Duncan will be hoping to feature against Chelsea as he returns from international duty with England Under-20s.
After lacking match sharpness, Lyons was pleased to see that Duncan got some game time whilst he was away on international duty.
Lyons said: “That’s the main thing with him, he’s got to get up to some sort of match speed to get him involved, on a regular basis.
"We will see where he’s at and see what the squad looks like for Saturday against Chelsea to see if we can get him involved.”
The Under-23s were successful in their last outing before the break, defeating Leicester City 2-1 with Jack Stretton brace sealing all three points for Lyons' men.
Words by: Louie Barrett