AIDY BOOTHROYD has challenged the Cobblers to beat Chelsea at their own game when they take on the Stamford Bridge club’s under-21s at Sixfields on Saturday afternoon (ko 3pm).
After what Boothroyd describes as ‘blood and thunder’ clashes with Corby Town and Cogenhoe United, the Cobblers face a major step up in class when they take on the Blues kids today.
In what looks set to be an intriguing game, Town will surely have the edge in experience and physicality while Chelsea’s technical ability will be of a very high quality, but Boothroyd won’t be asking his players to go out and try to bully or intimidate their youthful opponents.
Instead, he will ask them to do to the Blues under-21s what Chelsea’s senior team have been doing to teams for the best part of half a decade.
“I won’t ask the players to be any more physical than they are in any other game,” said Boothroyd.
“The best teams are the ones that can impose on the opposition physically and tactically, and technically be very good with the ball as well.
“I think Chelsea as a club over the past four of five years have been a model for that, so if we can use that and see if we can turn the tables on them a little bit that will be great.”
The fixture will be the Cobblers’ first pre-season game on home soil, and Boothroyd is looking forward to the occasion.
“It’s good for us to get a mixture of games in pre-season,” said the Cobblers boss.
“It’s good for us to go to places like Cogenhoe and play, and really enjoyed it Wednesday night and I enjoyed Corby on Saturday.
“Those games are blood and thunder, they are competitive, and I am not saying it won’t be competitive against Chelsea because it will be, but it will be different.
“The game will be more possession-based, and we have to make sure that mentally we have the concentration skills and focus to deal with it when they have the ball, and also the fitness and energy to be able to exploit them when we have the ball.
“It will be an interesting mix and I am looking forward to it.
“Chelsea have spent a lot of money on their under-21 team, they want to be the best in the world.
“They are European champions and it will be a very strong team and we have to make sure that we are at it to give them problems.”
Ben Harding is set to feature for the Cobblers for the first time since last season, while Everton trialist Connor Roberts may continue in goal in the absence of Neal Kitson who has returned to America to deal with a family matter.
If Roberts doesn’t start, then another trialist will take his place.
Report and reaction will be on www.northamptonchron.co.uk after today’s game, and you can follow the action as it happens on Twitter with our reporter Tom Vickers on @WheresTommyV
Matchday prices for the game are £12 for adults, £8 for senior citizens, £3 for under-18s and free for under-sevens.