Brighton & Hove Albion under-23s coach Simon Rusk is pleased that his side have been selected to take part in the Checkatrade Trophy again, following the EFL’s announcement earlier today.
A total of 16 academy one sides have been included, and Rusk highlighted how beneficial the competition will be for his squad.
He said, “We really enjoyed our experience in the Checkatrade Trophy last year and gained loads of positives from it, so I'm delighted.
“It gives us an opportunity to improve what we did last season from a competitive point of view, where results are very important.
“The lads are given a chance to play against men in a first-team match. That’s something that they can only gain from, and the boys more than held their own.
“Last year was like a pilot; I’m sure conversations have taken place regarding what was good and what wasn’t so good, and it’s another year for the competition to evolve, grow and develop.
“Hopefully it can help young English players come through their academy systems.”
Rusk is delighted that his squad will be able to pit their wits against League One and League Two sides, and says the possibility of playing in a Wembley cup final is another incentive for his players.
“It’s a different type of competitive fixture for us against other professional football clubs from League Two and League One.
“The players get to find out where they are and how they can impact a game against a first-team player. For us as coaches, it’s very interesting to take a step back, and get an indicator of where the next 12 months of the players' careers could go.
“I reminded them before every game last season that they have got a realistic chance of playing in a Wembley cup final. Those things don’t come round very often in a football career.”