Albion's under-23 coach is looked ahead to the first match in the knockout stages.
Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 coach Simon Rusk is well aware of the glamourous prize on offer, as his side enter the knockout stages of the Checkatrade Trophy tonight.
A young Albion team will face AFC Wimbledon at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, and Rusk insists that earning a place in the Wembley showpiece final must be the focus.
He said, “It’s a Wembley cup final that we’re playing for and it’s a very special thing to have as a goal.
“It would mean everything, we want to get the club to Wembley and that has to be our aim, otherwise there’s no point being in the competition.
“But we’re focused on our next game, and that always has to be your biggest game. As a player, you should view the next game as the biggest one of your career on a continual basis.
“Wimbledon is the next match, so we’ll tackle it and then move onto the next one, hopefully on the back of a positive result.”
Albion head into tonight’s game after consecutive victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United, and Rusk has been pleased with his team’s recent performances.
“It was a great win [v West Ham] and a really solid performance from the boys. West Ham are a very good side, they have lots of quick, technical players, so I was delighted to win 3-1 away from home.
“In the Wolves game we went behind and came back to win, and then against West Ham we stayed strong and managed to get the winning goals after they levelled the game.
“So I think we’ve shown resilience in the last two games, and I’ve been really pleased with both results ahead of the AFC Wimbledon match.”
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Rusk has been impressed with Wimbledon’s form in League One this season, as the newly-promoted side currently sit seventh and just outside the play-off places on goal difference.
“I’ve watched them a couple of times and I can see why they’re doing so well, they’ve got a lot of quality as a team and look very united in what they do.
“From watching how they played in the last couple of games, it comes as no surprise to me that they’re up there.
“We’ll have to pay them a lot of respect in how we set up, because they’re a very good team. But that’s why we entered the competition, we wanted a test.”
Albion fans can buy tickets at the turnstiles for tonight's game, priced at £10 for adults and £5 for under-18s.
Please note that the club will not be selling any advance tickets for the match.
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