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BALDOCK IMPRESSED BY UNDER-23S' MENTALITY

11 April 2018

Paul Hazlewood
Sam Baldock in action for Albion's under-23s against West Bromwich Albion.

Brighton & Hove Albion striker Sam Baldock was pleased to get some minutes under his belt for the club’s under-23s on Monday evening, and the 29-year-old praised Simon Rusk’s side for adopting a winning mentality.

The Seagulls sealed an emphatic 5-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion on the south coast, and Baldock, who played the full 90 minutes, spoke positively about Rusk’s flourishing side, who moved into third position in the Premier League 2 Division 2.

He said, “It was an enjoyable game - but obviously different to a first-team game. I’ve been short of minutes on that front, but I have to keep myself ready.

“There are some really good individuals coming through. The team have got a winning mentality at the moment and they showed that.

“A few of them were talking before the game about big names playing [Nacer Chadli] - but I just said to them ‘it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s 11v11 on the pitch’.

“Max [Sanders] has got massive potential. We've had a few come through in a similar position. He’s quite a complete midfielder, in terms of his box-to-box energy - he’s not really pigeonholed into one role.

“He’s got great technique and a good footballing brain. He’s obviously got a few areas to work on, but he’s been improving every time he trains with the first team.

“I’ve not seen much of Viktor [Gyokeres], but he’s certainly got an eye for the spectacular. He left the goalkeeper rooted and whipped the ball into the top corner - so he looks like another good prospect.”

Baldock, who has spent a large period of the season out injured, admitted his frustration towards his lack of opportunities in the Premier League - but insisted he’s focused on working hard to get his chance.

“It’s been a really frustrating season. Chances have been few and far between. After the elation of last season, and everything that I’ve put into the club over the last three years, it’s been hard to take.

“But I’m going to keep keep knuckling down, keep grafting away and working hard. I put everything into every training session.

“Competition for places has heated up since January. The formation change from the beginning of the season hasn’t helped my cause either.

“But things do change, and when they do, I’m going to be ready to pounce.”

Chris Hughton’s team travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon, and Baldock backed Albion to secure a positive result against Crystal Palace, who are also fighting for safety in the Premier League.

“It’s one we’ve been looking forward to all season. We know the welcome is going to be hostile, at best. Hopefully we can help our cause and hinder theirs.

“Nobody knows what we’ll need, but we can only get as many points as we can. We’ve been disappointed to only pick up one point from the last three games, so we need to get back on track.”


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