Jonjoe Kenny admits the Under-23s’ success this season has been driven by the collective desire to push on into the first team.
The Toffees have been impressive throughout the campaign to date and have just five Premier League 2 games to go, with a six-point lead at the summit over closest rivals Manchester City.
They are also still in with a chance of reaching the next stage of the Premier League Cup, knowing a win against Portsmouth on Monday night will guarantee them passage out of the group stage.
In a closely-contested Group D, David Unsworth’s charges sit in third on seven points behind Norwich City (10) and Pompey (8). Therefore, only a win will do for the Toffees at West Leigh Park in Havant.
But Kenny and his teammates are on a high after enjoying a 2-0 win over Southampton in front of a bumper 5,500 Evertonians at Goodison a week ago, and for the Under-23s skipper, the chance to be involved with the first team again is reason enough to put in a performance.
“If I can, I would love to train with the first team as much as I can from now until the end of the season,” he said. “That’s what all the Under-23s lads are doing – striving towards getting into the first team, becoming a regular and to keep on pushing as hard as you can towards that. It is what every young footballer wants to do.
“It was a great experience to go away with the seniors to Dubai recently and have the chance to train with them. I also featured in the game we had out there against FC Shenzhen as well so it was another chance to play with the top players we have at the club.”
A 4.30pm pitch inspection has been called ahead of tonight's scheduled clash at Westleigh Park, home of Havant & Waterlooville FC. If the match goes ahead, you can follow all the action from the Under-23s’ must-win Premier League Cup tie against Portsmouth with our live blog.