JUNIOR Brown and Danny Rose hope the Highbury feelgood factor will rub off on the England C team tonight.
The Fleetwood Town pair are in the squad of 15 as Highbury stages its first international (7.30pm) between the best of English non-league and the Italy C team – the opening match of the International Challenge Trophy.
Full-back Brown hopes to make his England debut tonight – injury forced him to pull out of the last C match against Gibraltar last August – while midfielder Rose makes his fifth appearance for the side.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to getting out at Highbury. It’s a sell-out and on back of a 4-0 home win (over Alfreton) at the weekend and so I’m in confident mood.
We can’t wait to get out and show what we can do. We’re very optimistic but it won’t be easy.
“The Italian players are from Serie C, so we know it’s a good standard. But these are the best young players in non-league, so we are looking forward to strutting our stuff.”
Brown has a further incentive to do well as he bids to regain his place in the Town team.
The left-back said: “Having the Fleetwood fans watching me makes it better, and hopefully I’ll catch the gaffer’s eye and get a place in the team.
“It’s a fantastic club and a good set-up. We just have to push as far was we can and I think this club can go a lot further. It’s a great time to be at the club.”
England C boss Paul Fairclough agrees it is the ideal venue.
The Liverpudlian, a former Stevenage Borough boss now back in charge at Barnet for the rest of the season, has run England C for the best part of a decade.
“We are really excited and I feel quite honoured to come to this part of the country,” Fairclough said.
“We have played a lot in the South, and it’s fitting and appropriate that we are going to Fleetwood Town, where everything is going so well.
“The club is on crest of a wave. They are top of the Conference and had a wonderful FA Cup run, and this is another feather in their cap. We know it’s a wonderful stadium and set-up, and it looks like being a good crowd. It’s a real opportunity for people to come out and support their country.”
Having got together on Sunday, the squad trained at Preston North End yesterday and will have their final training session on PNE’s Deepdale pitch today ahead of the match.
England C: Adam Boyes (Barrow), Kenny Davis (Braintree), Kevin Roberts (Cambridge), Preston Edwards (Ebbsfleet), Danny Rose (Fleetwood), Jamie Turley, Kieron Forbes, Edward Oshodi (all Forest Green), Michael Coulson (Grimsby), Scott Spencer (Hyde), Junior Brown (Fleetwood), Adam Watkins (Luton), Andrew Owens (Southport), Jonathan Hedge (Tamworth), Matthew Blair (York).