Jack Stephens has revealed Saints’ Development Squad are in a fine state heading into Friday’s clash with West Brom.
The Under-21s are looking to bounce back from last week’s cup loss to Exeter City with a league victory over the Baggies in the midlands and Stephens feels the side have put the previous defeat behind them in exemplary fashion this week.
“It was a difficult loss to come to terms with,” Stephens recalled when speaking to Saints Player about the Exeter tie. “We’ve been training hard all week. We’ve evaluated our performance and we’re looking strong going into the game on Friday.
“I think we did okay [against Exeter]; having watched it back, it wasn’t as bad as we first thought. We’ve done some defensive work – not just the back-four, [but the] midfielders and strikers as well. We’re looking good for Friday.
“I always go into every game with confidence, knowing that we can get a result. Obviously we’ve had a difficult season. It’s been quite stop-start with games, but no excuses really. I’m looking forward to it (the game against West Brom).”
On a personal note, Stephens is delighted to have retained the captaincy throughout the 2013/14 campaign but maintains that it has no bearing on his vocal style on the pitch.
The skipper is also pleased to have held down a partnership at the heart of the Saints defence with Jordan Turnbull, a friend of his outside football, and is targeting more shut-outs with his fellow centre-back in the future.
When asked how it felt to wear the armband for the U21s, Stephens declared: “It’s a great honour. It’s not something I overly think about. I like to communicate on the pitch but whether I’m captain or not, it doesn’t really make any difference.
“Me and Jordan [Turnbull] get on really well on the pitch and off the pitch as well, which is important. We’ve been a bit disappointed that we haven’t kept as many clean sheets as we’d have wanted to but hopefully with more games and more consistency then we’ll be able to pick up some more clean sheets.”