Club news

Rusk: Sussex Senior Cup Success Always A Target

By Kieran Cleeves • 09 May 2018

Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk admitted how pleased he’s been with his team’s performances in the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup this season, and is now focused on securing victory over Crawley Town in the final at the Amex Stadium tonight.

The Seagulls progressed past East Preston, Haywards Heath Town, Whitehawk and Pagham to reach the final, and Rusk insists his players are determined to record a second successive cup final victory over their League Two opponents.

He said, “At the start of the season, we always sit down and set out our targets for the year, and one of those targets is to get to the final of the Sussex Senior Cup.

“I’ve been really pleased with the players’ efforts - you have to be adaptable to get to the final of this competition, as there’s various types of games you have to play.

“It means a lot to the players that we get to play at our own stadium against what will be a very good Crawley Town side.

“I’m expecting a very competitive match. I’ve seen them a few times this season and Harry Kewell has done a very good job.

“They’ve got a way of playing that they want to impose on their opponent. I can’t guess what team Harry will put out, but what I do know is that whatever team is on the pitch, it will be a stern test for us.”

Rusk went on to assess the shape of his under-23 squad ahead of tonight’s match, with a number of new faces available for selection compared to the team that beat Crawley 3-0 after extra time last season.

“Every year with the under-23s, there’s going to be players coming up from the under-18s. Some of the older players take opportunities elsewhere, but there’s been a couple of new faces.

“Max Sanders has come up from the under-18s, Viktor Gyokeres has come in from Sweden - them changes are always going to occur because of the nature of what we are.

“We’ve still got plenty of players who were involved and in and around the squad last season - your Ben Barclay’s and Dessie Hutchinson’s.

“We’ve got a couple of new players, but there’s plenty of old faces that have been around for the last few years as well.”

After tonight’s match, the Seagulls travel to Villa Park on Saturday to play Aston Villa in the Premier League 2 Division 2 Play-Off Final, and Rusk expressed his desire to win alongside aiding the development of his players.

“One of our objectives at the start of the season was to get as close as we could to winning promotion, running alongside individual development of the players - which is our main priority.

“I want to win games of football, I’m just like anyone else in football. The priority of our job is to develop, but we want to perform well and win matches.

“We want to win every game that we play - that’s not sounding cliche, it’s just part and parcel of professional sport.”