London rivals Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal lagging as Everton outshine big spenders in Premier League 2 title race

Unsworth has led Everton's Under-23s towards the title: Getty Images

Everton Under-23 manager David Unsworth accepts the club cannot out-spend many of their heavily-financed rivals' academies but his players have proved they can easily compete with them.

A victory over Chelsea at Aldershot on Friday night will see the Toffees secure the Premier League 2 title with a match to spare.

They currently enjoy a five-point cushion over second-placed Manchester City, who have invested a massive amount in their youth system, and there is a 10-point gap to neighbours Liverpool, in third.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United are even further adrift and Unsworth claims that is testament to his squad's quality and commitment.

"I don't know about out-performing because we've had some great games against them this season," he told Press Association Sport.

"They spent a lot more money than us but we think we have players who are as talented as anyone's at the moment and we think we can compete against anybody.

"It has been a great season. The lads have been consistently very good over the period, we've had some great performances and the players have put themselves in a great position of doing something a little bit special.

"We have been able to not just individually perform but collectively perform for the majority of the season.

"The biggest thing now is keeping this group of players together and getting them involved in the first team."