The under-18s' coach looked ahead to tonight's FA Youth Cup tie.
Brighton & Hove Albion under-18s' coach Ian Buckman revealed the excitement within the squad ahead of this evening’s FA Youth Cup fifth round game against Stoke City, but warned his players of the stern test they’ll face at the Bet365 Stadium, kick-off 7pm.
The Seagulls progressed to this stage after beating Derby County and Cambridge United in previous rounds, and Buckman is pleased to return to cup action after a busy month for his players.
He said: “We’re looking forward to the game, it’s a great chance for the lads to come back together following the league programme and the other competitions they’ve been involved in.
“It’s great to get back together and refocus on what’s been an exciting competition for us so far. At this stage of the tournament, it’s very competitive and we know that it’s another hard test.
“Stoke are a good side, well coached and well organised, they’re a good group and have some quality individuals, so we’re expecting it to be a very tough game.”
A number of players from Albion’s under-18 squad have appeared for Simon Rusk’s under-23s in recent weeks, and Buckman believes those experiences can be beneficial for his entire group.
“When the lads get the opportunity to work with the under-23s or first team, they get supported and encouraged by the players there, so when they come back, it’s important they do that with the players in our squad.
“The more experience that our players can have, the better. Over this past month, they’ve had an opportunity to play at the Amex and we play at a Premier League ground this time, which is another great opportunity.
“With all the opportunities they gain, it all adds to their experience and assists with their development. We want leaders within the team, so it’s all about making each other better.”
The Seagulls are currently eight games unbeaten in league and cup competitions, and Buckman praised the contribution from his whole squad for their impressive form of late.
“With some players playing for the under-23s, the lads that have stepped into the league games have done very well. So we’re in good form, but it’s been an effort by the whole squad over that period of time.”
You can follow live updates from the game on Albion’s Twitter handle (@OfficialBHAFC) and a match report will be published on seagulls.co.uk.