Ex-Spurs and Manchester United prospects could cause Jose Mourinho's darkest hour

Mourinho Dugout

Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United fans will be keeping an eye on former players when Swindon take on Chelsea in midweek, while a former Newcastle bad boy is also one to look out for.

Jose Mourinho is a man under pressure at Chelsea, despite his side sitting near the top of the Premier League table.

They got back on track after two straight defeats with a 2-0 home win over Fulham at the weekend, but the damage a midweek defeat could do them is immeasurable.

Chelsea travel to Swindon Town in the League Cup tomorrow night, a fixture which has the potential to provide the giant killing upset of the round, in a competition which Mourinho won during his first spell in English football with the club.

Swindon sit 11th in League One, with 11 points from eight games; but will come into the game full of confidence from a last gasp 3-2 win at the weekend over Bristol City.

Ryan Mason, on loan from Tottenham and who bagged a hat-trick earlier in the season will be unavailable through injury.

However they will enter the game with a cluster of former Premier League trainees who have had to drop down a level to kickstart their careers, but will be increasingly motivated by the glamour clash and the opportunity to make their names once again, as the men who can pile more pressure onto the 'Special One.'

Massimo Luongo, Alex Pritchard and Grant Hall

Australian midfielder Massimo Luongo had been at Spurs since 2011, and his only taste of first team football was a disappointing one. He came on as a late substitute in Tottenham's League Cup defeat to Stoke that year, only to miss a crucial spot-kick in a penalty shootout. He was then sent on successive loans to Ipswich and then Swindon, signing for the club for £400,000 close to the transfer deadline. He has scored twice in nine games so far this season in all competitions.

He had signed on loan in August prior to making the move permanent, along with defender Grant Hall - who remains on loan from Spurs. Hall is a 21-year-old centre-back who has also made nine appearances in all competitions this campaign, and could have the mammoth task of helping to stop one of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba or Samuel Eto'o. Spurs will watch on with interest.

Attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard is among Tottenham's highest rated prospects, currently on loan at Swindon. The teenager was suspended for the weekend win over Bristol City and may find himself on the bench if Swindon are unwilling to change a winning team. Pritchard was part of Spurs' NextGen side which tore apart Barcelona last season, and has already been showing off his free-kick prowess at Swindon. He is a real game-changer and this could provide his opportunity to endear himself further to fans of his parent side.

Nicky Ajose

Nicky Ajose is a former Manchester United trainee who at one stage appeared to be doing everything right if he wanted to crack the first team. Now 21, he was a teenager when he scored 15 goals on loan at League Two Bury to help them win promotion. Ajose then rather than move to Bury back on loan, was sold to Darren Ferguson's Peterborough who were struggling in the Championship and failed to make an impact. He ended up being loaned back to Bury last season where he rediscovered his form, bagging four goals in the process.

Ajose is a winger who can play on either flank or through the middle off the main striker, and agreed a deal to move to Swindon this summer again on loan. He scored his first goals for the club at the weekend, a brace in a 3-2 win over Bristol City, with his second coming from a Luongo cross. He may be coming back to form at just the right time.

Nile Ranger

Troubled forward Nile Ranger is just glad to be paying football. The 22-year-old was kicked out by Newcastle after a string of off-field controversies, including one criminal charge of which he is yet to be cleared. A former England youth international, his career spiralled out of control in the North East, unable to stay out of trouble.

He pleaded for Swindon fans to give him a chance upon arrival, stating he simply wants to do his talking on the pitch and believes the club can offer him a solid platform to rekindle his career. So far so good, with Ranger finding the net in the last round of the competition, a 2-0 win over QPR. He has two league goals also for the club, netting the 87th minute winner over Bristol City at the weekend. Look for fireworks when he goes up against Chelsea's backline.

Can these three help darken Jose's mood? 

image: © tpower1978

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