Youngster can't wait for FA Youth Cup tie at Roots Hall on Tuesday evening
Youth team midfielder Jack Bridge believes that the prospect of playing at Roots Hall in front of a home crowd has created an added incentive for the squad ahead of Southend United’s FA Youth Cup First Round Proper tie against Maidstone United on Tuesday evening.
Speaking in an exclusive interview for the matchday programme Bridge, who has scored five times in his four appearances for the U18s this season, revealed that the entire squad are in an excitable mood.
“There’s an extra buzz now it’s at Roots Hall. It wasn’t a problem for us going down to Maidstone, but it’s a lot bigger buzz now to get onto the pitch at home. It adds a little bit more to the game for us, I think, but we’ve still got to stay relaxed, be professional and get the job done,” he said.
“It’s been hard for myself and the boys to stay focussed because The FA Youth Cup is the main thing this year that everyone looks forward to, but we’ve tried not to talk about it too much. Now we’ve got the Crawley game over and done with, we can really focus on it, but it’s been hard,” he added.
Bridge has played twice at Roots Hall in the competition before, coming off the substitutes’ bench as Blues defeated Corinthian 4-0 in the First Round and then again during an extra time defeat to Brentford in 2011/12. He also started in last season’s 2-1 reverse at Portsmouth, so he is now eager to create some happier memories.
“It’s a great feeling being involved in it. In the last couple of years we haven’t done as well as I think we should’ve done. We got knocked out by Brentford and then Portsmouth last year, so we didn’t fulfil what we could’ve done, but we’ve got a good enough squad this year to do well. Hopefully, with the draw that we’ve got, with possibly two games at home now, we can do well.”
“You want to get the big clubs at Roots Hall or away in a nice stadium, but we’ve got to make sure we get the job done in these first two rounds and get ourselves into the draw for the Third Round,” the second-year scholar declared.
You can read more about Bridge’s thoughts on the competition, his impromptu trip to Maidstone last month to check out the opposition and his return from injury in the matchday programme, priced at just 50p. Also included are interviews with Ricky Duncan and Dave Huzzey, plus season statistics and the lowdown on the Stones.
Southend United U18s take on Maidstone United U18s in the First Round Proper of The FA Youth Cup on Tuesday 5th November, kick-off 7.30pm. Admission is just £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.