By: Ben Emmott
Chelsea’s Under 21s face League Two side Lincoln City in the EFL Trophy semi-final as the Blues aim to be the first academy side to win the competition.
With the winner of the tie heading to Wembley, it’s a chance for Chelsea’s youngsters to give their fans something to shout about as the first team continue to drop points in the Premier League.
Lincoln City sit in 9th place in League Two, and will be aiming to defeat the odds and book their first trip to the new Wembley.
The Imps face a tough task if they want to make it to the final, as Chelsea u21’s brushed aside Oxfords first team in the quarter finals, winning 3-0.
Danny Cowley, Lincoln City manager, speaking to BBC Radio Lincolnshire spoke about how it will be one of Lincoln’s most difficult fixtures this season:
“We have got a home draw, we’ve probably got the toughest draw possible because Chelsea have got some fantastic young players, some of the best young players in the world and it is going to be a huge challenge for us.
“But we have shown in cup competitions previously that we enjoy being the underdogs and I think we are able to find an extra level when we are up against it.”
Last season, Lincoln famously beat Premier League side Burnley away from home in the FA Cup, which earnt them a trip to Arsenal.
But despite Chelsea’s success, some fans are still angered that Premier League sides are involved as it is.
The competition was set up as an opportunity for lower league clubs to have a cup run and a chance to play at Wembley, until Premier League youth sides were given the option to join the competition last season.
Chelsea u21 coach Joe Edwards, had this to say about the competition:
“There’s definitely a feeling from our end that we have something to prove in this competition, even if there isn’t as much pressure on us as in the FA Youth Cup or other competitions,’ Edwards notes. ‘A lot of the other academy teams went out early so we haven’t had that expectation on us to go all the way and win it, which has given the boys a bit of freedom to go out and play.”
The participants in the other semi-final are yet to be determined as Fleetwood Town travels to Yeovil to decide who will meet Shrewsbury for a chance to go to Wembley.