Cardiff City’s Development squad continue their quest for Cup glory at Cardiff City Stadium tonight as they take on Chelsea in the U-21 Premier League Cup, (kick-off 7.05pm).
A stunning 4-3 win after extra-time against Brighton & Hove Albion in the previous qualifying round, where Tommy O’Sullivan and Rhys Healey scored twice in the last two minutes to secure a dramatic triumph, saw them through to face the Blues’, widely regarded as one of the most talented Development squads in the country.
And looking ahead to tonight’s fixture, which is FREE for all supporters to attend
, Cooper said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to test ourselves.
“We will of course be without a couple of the lads who are out on-loan, but we certainly won’t have any fear and will go out and approach the game in the normal way. We will be competitive and test ourselves and hopefully we’ll have enough on the night to pull off the win.
“I’ve certainly got enough belief in the boys that we can go and get a result. I said to them after that Brighton game, that many teams in the situation that we were in wouldn’t have come back from it and would’ve missed the opportunity to play them.
“Such was their honesty and togetherness they managed to pull something out of the bag. We earned the right to test ourselves against what you would think to be one of the toughest Development teams around.”
Of their eight competitive Development matches so far this season, Cooper’s side have notched an impressive seven victories, the only blemish coming in a 3-2 defeat to QPR in October. It’s form aided by a resilience often shown by the young Bluebirds throughout the season, togetherness that Cooper believes has filtered down from the first-team.
“That result, against Brighton, shows the spirit that’s in the club at the minute,” said Cooper, “It’s not just at Development level, that togetherness, never say die attitude and spirit is there throughout the club and filters down from the first-team.
“It’s something that the manager has instilled at this club with the fantastic job he is doing here and is something that we have to adhere to ourselves. The very fact that we showed what we did on the night; looking fit, strong and powerful to the very last minute showed that spirit we’ve got.
“It’s something the first-team has shown throughout last season and has clearly continued into the Premier League. It was there for all to see and was a good example of what we’re trying to instil into the boys.”
And tonight the young Bluebirds will once again get a taste of what it’s like to play on the big stage, a chance to play at Cardiff City Stadium something that Cooper believes gives his young side vital experience as they look to progress in professional football.
“What we’re trying to do is make the surroundings they’re working in as close to a first-team experience as possible,” said Cooper, “The very fact that the ground staff and football staff are right behind what we’re trying to do is fantastic and a key to help us.
“We give them the arena to play on, which in itself brings its own pressures and for these boys. It’s important, whether they play in front of 2,000 or 5,000, it gives them experience of being involved in a match rather than working again on a training field.
“It’s important that we create the best atmosphere and scenario for them to play in and experience for further down the line.”
So get down to Cardiff City Stadium tonight and back Kevin Cooper’s men to Cup glory. Tickets are absolutely FREE, for any supporter that wishes to attend, with FREE parking also available at the ground on a first come first served basis.Check out highlights of how City set-up tonight's tie with Chelsea, with a stunning 4-3 AET win over Brighton below.