Our development squad face a big night of action as we look to take one step towards achieving Premier League 2 safety with a trip to Brighton and we preview the clash with defender Bashir Humphreys...
Kick-off on the South Coast is 7pm this Monday evening, with Andy Myers's team back in control of their own destiny following Leeds United's loss earlier in the week. With the PL2 season slowly coming to an end, our young Blues still have the matter of survival to deal with. The team’s second loss on the bounce inflicted by Everton last week has left them lying second from bottom, just above already-relegated Derby County.
With survival firmly back in our hands, Myers and his men will be looking to end the season well by first shooting down the Seagulls tonight. Brighton have won three of their last four so they come into this one as the form side of the two teams, making it a tricky test for the visitors.
Nevertheless, certain performances this season have not been indicative of what the standings suggest and Humphreys, recently back from injury, has explained that he maintains full belief in the coaching and his team-mates to manoeuvre their way to safety.
Recovery from injury
‘It has been a tough season for the team and for me personally,' he told us this week. 'We are not where we want to be as a team, and it is up to us to execute the plan to get us to safety.
‘The season started well for me. I even went off to play with England but then just like that I got injured and was out for four months or so.’
The young defender's recovery has been stellar and he has slotted back into the backline seamlessly but unfortunately the team still finds themselves in a precarious position. However, as captain he says he has taken on the responsibility to be the voice on the pitch.
‘While I've been out, I have seen Alfie Gilchrist, Lewis Baker, Xavier Simons and Harvey Vale all have the armband, so to be trusted with this responsibility following my return back, I was truly surprised,' he admitted.
‘Nonetheless, I want to be a good leader and the way I know how is to execute the manager’s instructions and lead by example. None of us want to be in the position that we are in but I trust in the coaching and the team. We have the ability to steer ourselves to safety.’
Throughout the season, the players have spoken of the importance of sticking together and grinding out results if needed, with Humphreys the latest to echo that sentiment.
‘This has been the message from day one - stick together, stay true to our principles, work for one another and the rest will follow,' he added. 'Despite the results, we truly believe these words and we have shown in certain performances that it works.’
Preparing for Brighton
We faced the Seagulls earlier in the season and drew 1-1 with Vale on the scoresheet to cancel out Andrew Moran’s early first half strike. Humphreys, who was unavailable for that game due to injury, gave an insight into the preparation that he is doing for this latest meeting of the two sides.
‘Like with any other game, I go over clips from previous games with the coaches and look at areas I can improve personally first,' he said. 'Following that, as a team we get shown clips of our opponents and look at things we can exploit.
‘They are a good team with good players but so are we and even though we do look at areas where we can succeed, we focus on ourselves and our football so that we can dictate the game.’
The 19-year-old also mentioned watching videos and learning from Thiago Silva. The 37-year-old has already made over 40 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions this season and Humphreys commended the Brazilian’s durability in a position he also plays.
Just like our number six's recent showing, Humphreys and his defensive colleagues will be hoping for a clean sheet and a big three points in PL2 tonight. Kick-off at the Amex Stadium is 7pm and tickets are available priced at £5 for adults and £2 for concessions.