The Everton Under-18s managerd by Kevin Sheedy have set the bar high with one title win and two successive second-placed finishes, and now the core of those teams are playing for David Unsworth’s Under-23s and on the verge of winning the Premier League 2 title today.
The young Blues lead Manchester City’s youth side by five points with just two games to play for each team. A win today away against the Chelsea Under-23s will clinch the title.
Unsworth has been able to call on some experienced heads in the run-in to the championship, with Muhamed Besic and Brendan Galloway featuring in the 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur a fortnight ago, and both expected to play again today.
Jonjoe Kenny, who has been training with the senior team after the injury to Seamus Coleman, will also play as was confirmed by Ronald Koeman yesterday.
| "We know that a win on Friday gets us the league and that’s exactly what we are trying to do." #EFCU23 preview: https://t.co/ZUUlsxljQA pic.twitter.com/3RydcfOBXk— Everton (@Everton) April 20, 2017
Unsworth and assistant coach John Ebbrell are playing down the hype, trying to keep the players on an even keel going into the game -
“That’s what John and I have tried to do for the last couple of weeks - you can’t get ahead of yourself in this game because it can come back to bite you.
“We’ve just got to concentrate on the performance and put out the best team we can to try and win the game.
“The lads have been playing well. We’ve changed things around at half-time in a couple of games so we need to start better on Friday. We are looking for a quick start. We are happy with the performances lately and have been scoring a lot of goals.
“It will be a tough game and I’ve got a lot of respect for Chelsea over the last few years with producing top young talent. I know their manager [Adrian Viveash] - he’s a good guy and he’ll have them organised.
“Whatever team Chelsea put out, we are expecting a really tough game. We would never underestimate our opponents.”
There is no word yet if there will be a livestream of the game from Aldershot’s Recreational Ground, starting at 7:05pm BST (2:05pm EST/11:05am PST).