Match Previews

'This is biggest under-21s game for a long time'

Brought to you by...

Albion face Reading in the last 16 of the EFL Trophy at the Amex on Tuesday, kick-off 7pm.

By Charlie Hanson • 09 January 2024

By Clive Howes
This is the furthest Albion under-21s have gone in the EFL Trophy.

Under-21s head coach Shannon Ruth has said that tonight’s Bristol Street Motors Trophy last 16 match against Reading is a huge occasion for his team.

The game, which is taking place at the Amex, marks the furthest our under-21s have got in the competition since they first entered it in the 2016/17 season.

Those two factors make it a massive night for the under-21s, according to Ruth.

“The opportunity to play at the Amex is a really positive one for the players. What we try and ensure is that hopefully the first time they play at the Amex is not their first-team debut," Shannon said.

By Clive Howes
Albion reached this stage of the EFL Trophy thanks to a 4-0 win over MK Dons.

“If we can get them an opportunity to play at the stadium before it gives them a good experience and a familiarity with their surroundings. And then to have a crowd there and an opportunity to get to a quarter-final that is certainly the biggest occasion for the team this season and probably for the 21s for the past few years.

“We haven’t got to this stage before, so we are very aware of what this game means.”

Ruth’s team have enjoyed a positive season so far, with his team in good form in Premier League 2 and a number of players getting their chance out on loan as well as their progress in the knockout competition. 

“I always try as under-21s head coach to make sure we are ticking three areas. The first of course is the ability for academy graduates or under-21s to try and affect the first-team squad or support in a training capacity.


MA+ members & STH only - Log-in required

An existing MyAlbion+ membership or season ticket is needed to view this content. Please note that new memberships take 24 hours to be active to view, registering today for Luton Town match streaming will not be valid in time.

EFL Trophy Highlights: MK Dons 0 Albion 4

“The second would obviously be our games programme and ensuring we are getting to the latter stages of competitions. It’s not necessarily the winning that is important but it’s the experiences that come with that. The further you get through competitions the better experiences the players get, which means hopefully under pressure they can perform better. So we have to make sure we can get them in those situations.

“And then lastly ensuing the players can attract good loans and can move into [loans manager] Gordon Greer’s group in the loan pathway and get the best post possible opportunities when that time is right.

“Looking at those three key areas over the first six months of the season, we are really pleased with our work so far. We feel we have been able to tick a few of those boxes.”

To buy your tickets for tonight’s game, please tap here.