Ruth: Let's use EFL Trophy success as bedrock for season

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Albion are through to the last 16 of the competition.

By Richie Mills • 08 December 2023

By Clive Howes
Sahil Bashir fired in late on to make it 4-0 against MK Dons.

Under-21 boss Shannon Ruth wants their 4-0 EFL Trophy win over MK Dons to be the "bedrock" of more success.

Albion marched into the last-16 of the competition thanks to second-half goals from Samy Chouchane, Joe Knight, Ruairi McConville, and Sahil Bashir at Stadium MK on Tuesday night.

The result created a little bit of history, too, as this is the furthest our under-21s have progressed in the tournament - but Ruth wants his side to maintain these very high standards; starting with Friday's Premier League Cup trip to Aston Villa.

"The post-match [team talk] was about trying to replicate that [performance] now and that display being a bedrock for us. We have the view that no matter who comes into a team there is a way of playing we stick to and a set of responsibilities attached to each position on the pitch," he said.


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EFL Trophy Highlights: MK Dons 0 Albion 4

"We expect everyone who plays to adhere to those principles. I said to the lads that is now our level, we've got to repeat on Friday [against Aston Villa]. It's the furthest we have ever got in this competition so we are delighted to be in the next round. It's another opportunity for our young players to try and show what they can do again."

Ruth was thrilled with how his young side bounced back from their 3-0 loss to Fulham in Premier League 2 on Friday, before putting the League Two outfit to the sword a few days later.

"We wanted a reaction from Friday with our energy, intensity, and body language and the players certainly gave us that," he said. "We had do to that against a senior side, they [MK Dons] weren't going to take their foot off the accelerator so we had to make sure we matched whatever they threw at us and try to better it. So I am really pleased with the players' performances on Tuesday."

By Clive Howes
Shannon Ruth's team have reached the last 16 of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.

It was also a special night for under-18s Knight and Bashir who got on the scoresheet, and young Charlie Tasker and Ronnie Gorman got some game time as well.  

"We are really passionate about the club's young footballers and giving them opportunities to finish the game with four scholars on the pitch (Knight, Tasker, Gorman, and Bashir) shows how strong our pathway is and how much we believe in young players," added Ruth.

"To give them a chance to get on the pitch and contribute to that is something we are proud of. I thought all the young players stepped up today and gave a good account of themselves."

Albion sit third in their Premier League Cup group, three points behind group leaders Aston Villa with three games remaining who they play at Bodymoor Heath on Friday, kick-off 7pm.