U23's Coaching Staff

U23's Coaching Staff

Andrew Crofts

Under-23s Head Coach

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion Under-23s head coach Andrew Crofts.

Andrew Crofts re-joined the club in July 2019 in a new role as player-coach as part of Simon Rusk’s under-23 side. 

Following on from Rusk's departure to Stockport County in February 2021, Crofts became interim-coach alongside Shannon Ruth.

The midfielder signed a two-year contract as one of three over-age outfield players permitted under Premier League 2 rules.

The 36-year-old former Albion skipper enjoyed a playing career across all four top tiers in England, beginning life in the game with local club Gillingham and also representing Norwich City in the Premier League.

With the Seagulls, Crofts had two spells on the south coast either side of his time with the Canaries, turning out for Albion 125 times and found the back of the net on 13 occasions.

He has also represented Wales on the international stage, making 29 caps at senior level.

Shannon Ruth

Senior Professional Development Coach

By Paul Hazlewood
Senior professional development coach Shannon Ruth.

Shannon Ruth was appointed interim-coach alongside Andrew Crofts in February 2021, following the departure of Simon Rusk to Stockport County, before taking on the role of senior professional development coach at the end of that season.

Ruth became Albion’s under-23 assistant coach in January 2018, following a spell as lead academy goalkeeping coach - a role he still oversees.

After playing football at non-league level in the Conference, Ruth began coaching with Chelsea at the age of 18, as he worked with the under-9 to under-12 goalkeepers at the club.

Head of goalkeeping roles at Aldershot and Reading followed - four years with the Royals - before joining Albion, initially as a goalkeeping coach before stepping up to be Rusk’s assistant.

Gary Dicker

Under-23s Player-Coach

By Paul Hazlewood
Player-coach Gary Dicker.

Gary Dicker returned to the club in July 2021 as over-age player in the under-23 squad.

The 34-year-old midfielder made more than 150 appearances for Albion after joining in March 2009 from Stockport County. He made the move permanent in July 2009 and spent the next four seasons with the club.

After spells with Rochdale, Crawley Town and Carlisle, Dicker joined Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock in 2016, making more than 150 appearances and coaching the reserve team for four years before he was released at the end of last season.

Dicker's role with the under-23s will be similar to that of his former Albion teammate Andrew Crofts, who mentored and coached the young players before he was appointed under-23s head coach.