JERSEY BULLS U23S have another ‘great opportunity’ to get a game against English opposition tonight, says coach Paul Renton.
They travel to play Abbey Rangers Development for a chance to qualify for the third round of the Michael Bidmead Challenge Cup, where Uxbridge U23s await.
Last year, the young Bulls made it all the way to the final where they lost to Aldershot Town 4-1.
In previous games, Renton has been able to call on university-based players but all players selected will fly over together from Jersey, with one notable exception. Elias Yousseff, a young British businessman who has previously been on the books at Cardiff City and Forest Green Rovers has been named in the squad.
Renton admits he knows little about the player who has family links with Jersey and has attended a number of training sessions with the first team squad.
Indeed, Bulls’ U23 side is very much ‘get picked, turn up and play’, with no time to prepare or train together due to the players’ local club commitments. Meanwhile, Abbey Rangers play regularly together in the Suburban League Premier Division, where they currently lie in mid-table.
‘It’s our second season now and it has always been the same. It is what it is,’ said Renton.
‘It’s difficult to get a settled group. The work doesn’t start until we get into the changing room.
‘But I am relaxed about it and I look forward to seeing them all together. I know the players well, they know each other well, and we know what they can do.
‘If we played in a more structured environment, like a league, it would be different.’
Still, Renton has a talented pool of players to pick from and can call upon first team regulars Joe Kilshaw and Sammy Sutcliffe, while teenagers Sammy Henia-Kamau and JJ Lloyd have also recently been called-up to the senior squad.
With such strength in depth, Bulls will be hoping they can replicate the success of last season.
‘There’s some strong clubs in this competition and getting to the final was a fantastic achievement,’ added Renton.
‘Whether we can get as far as we got last year, we don’t know but we’ll give it a good go. I am confident we will be competitive.’
Jersey Bulls U23s squad: Piers Roche, JJ Lloyd, Fergus Boyle, Charlie Brennan, Sammy Sutcliffe, Joe Kilshaw, Robert Martins-Figueira, Luke Coutanche, Elias Youssef, Max Rivers, Leandro Vieira, Kushal Frankson, Sammy Henia-Kamau, Harry Scott.