Albion's under-23 coach looked ahead to tonight's final group stages match.
Brighton & Hove Albion under-23s’ coach Simon Rusk is hopeful his team can get the rewards for their hard work, as they come up against Leyton Orient in the Checkatrade Trophy at the Amex tonight.
Albion occupy third spot in Southern Group G ahead of Tuesday’s game, and know only victory will be enough to earn a place in the knockout stages.
He said, “I’m looking forward to it and so are the squad, we knew that we’d be happy with getting to the last game with something to play for, and we have.
“Progressing [to the knockout stage] would mean a lot to me because I’d be really pleased for the players, they worked very hard during pre-season and up until now.
“I’d stress to the boys that every game is an opportunity. They need to go into it with the best-possible attitude and see where it takes them.
“I don’t treat the Checkatrade Trophy games any differently in terms of the principles, and we’ll approach it in the same way we do for all our other games.”
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Albion head into the game on a six-match unbeaten run, and although Rusk is pleased with his team’s resilience of late, he feels there’s room for improvement going forward.
“We’ve committed to making ourselves a very hard team to beat this season, but now we’ve just got to take it to the next stage and be more of a threat to opponents.
“We need to put their goal under more pressure when we’re in the final third, and then create little moments of quality that get you goals in games.
“If we can do that and maintain the standards we have for defending, I think we can go on a good run.”
Rusk praised Albion’s fans for their consistent backing this season, and emphasised the positive impact that their support can have on his players.
“We’ve got wonderful fans and I don’t see why they wouldn’t turn up and get behind the team like they do every week.
“I’m sure they’ll get behind the players, and it will be nice because we’ll have some young players in the game, who will experience that first-team feeling of playing at the Amex.”
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