For City Elite Development Squad, the 2014/15 season starts here – or at Aldershot Town FC on Friday night, to be precise.
Patrick Vieira’s team could not have been handed a tougher start to their Barclays u21 Premier League campaign than their match away at last season’s league champions, Chelsea.
In an innovation for the new-look 12-team u21 Premier League, matches will regularly be shown on satellite television in the UK, starting with this meeting between first and fourth in last season’s competition which will be broadcast on Sky Sports 5.
It promises to be a new-look City EDS, too, given the number of last year’s team who have headed out on loan across the continent this summer.
Marcos Lopes, Jason Denayer, Greg Leigh, Emyr Huws and Ellis Plummer have gone out so far, with more potentially set to join them in the coming weeks, meaning it will be a young City side that competes in the league this year.
However, Vieira is impressed with the appetite, the character and the quality his newly-promoted players from last year’s under-18 Northern Premier League title winning side have brought to the table in pre-season and he is confident that they will be able to compete for honours this year.
“They have displayed the determination to show that they want to play, that they are here to be part of the team and not just to make up the numbers,” Vieira told mcfc.co.uk.
“It's very important because if you want to be a great player, you have to have personality and I think that every step you need to show the coach that you are ambitious, you have a strong personality that you play your football with.
“We will be young but I am sure we are going to be competitive in every competition we enter this season.”
Last season, it was Chelsea who ended City’s Barclays u21 Premier League title hopes by beating them on penalties at the Etihad Stadium in May.
An instant shot at revenge for that defeat is sure to provide ample motivation for Vieira’s men to kick-off their league campaign on a winning note.
Kick-off at Aldershot Town FC (postcode for Sat Nav: GU11 1TW) is at 19:05 and the game will be shown live on Sky Sports 5 for fans in the UK.
Entry is free on the night for all supporters.