Crofts will still be in charge of Albion youngsters - despite Swindon link

·2-min read
Brighton under-21s manager Andrew Crofts (BHAFC)
Brighton under-21s manager Andrew Crofts (BHAFC)

Andrew Crofts WON'T be leaving Albion - despite links with the vacant manager's job at Swindon Town.

The former midfielder was at one stage favourite to take over at the County Ground and remained short odds for the post.

But The Argus have been told he will be in charge of the Seagulls' under-23s, or 21s as they will become, in the coming season.

Crofts believes his hard-working Albion youngsters answered a few doubters last term.

The Seagulls coach is aware development football is often dismissed as tippy-tappy, lightweight stuff missing the physical edge of senior league play.

But Crofts, himself a combative midfielder with an eye for a goal in his playing days, says the stylish young Seagulls have also learnt the ugly side.

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He revealed: “I said to them at the start of (last) season that the 23s maybe get a little bit of a perception from outside that they will struggle with that type of game.

“But we have worked hard on not being that typical 23s team that just want the ball and just come to life when they have the ball.

“We are a really hard-working side.

“We are hard to play against and they will learn that as they go.

“Challenges like that, when you have got more experienced players, a little bit more nous, against you are a really good test.

“All season in terms of that side of the game, the lads have really improved.”

Crofts will face a slightly different challenge next term as Premier League 2 switches from under-23s to 21s.

That will make very little difference in practical terms given the age profile of the teams all clubs tend to send out in PL2.

The change is designed to reflect the reality of the players in the competition, whose average is currently 19.

Clubs will be permitted to use five (previously three) over-age outfield players and one over-age goalkeeper, in order to transition from its under-23 format.

Albion already sent out an under-21s team in the Football League Trophy.

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