CRAIG Short knows firsthand how eager Chelsea Under 21s will be to impress against Oxford United tonight.

The U’s first-team coach was in charge of Derby County’s youngsters when they entered the EFL Trophy in 2016/17.

Although the Rams bowed out at the group stage, Short found the experience useful in measuring players’ progress.

He said: “For us as an academy it was great.

“To put young lads in the Trophy was a real physical test, because you come up against men.

“It’s a chance to blood younger players, so it’s very important for category one academies.

“There’s some strange results and the academies are not to be underestimated, especially Chelsea.”

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It will be the third time United have played Chelsea in this competition and they are yet to taste victory.

Michael Appleton’s side lost a marathon penalty shoot-out 13-12 after a 1-1 draw in November 2016, while Derek Fazackerley took charge of a 3-0 defeat in January 2018.

Dan Agyei is one U’s player who could feature tonight and the forward is not expecting an easy ride.

He said: “They bring a lot of energy and they’re good on the ball technically.

“The only thing they might be missing from their game is the physical aspect.”