Coach Aaron Downes believes all the young Academy prospects at Cheltenham Town will have learned valuable lessons after featuring in the 4-1 defeat to Weston-super-Mare.
Cheltenham finished the game with seven current Academy players on the field as they gave youth the chance to shine – with Fin Clift netting a first senior goal with second half header.
A total of 13 Academy prospects featured in the matchday squad and Head of Academy CDownes firmly believes that experience will be of huge benefit.
“Overall it is a frustrating result, but it was an important game for us,” said Downes.
“It was good to see so many young lads out there in the second half getting game time and learning. It was a challenge for them playing against a good Weston side and men.
“I’m buzzing for Fin,” he added. “He is a big Cheltenham fan so that is a big moment for him. None of the other lads did themselves any harm and it is a learning experience for them.
“It’s important that the manager can watch them and see what they have got to offer. And to test themselves against men, because a lot of the time they are playing 18-year-olds.
“It is important for their learning experience that they experience days like this with the first team.
“The most important job for us as an Academy is to do what is best for the players. To improve them as people as much as players and coming to places like this is giving them life experience.
“I’m working with Pete (Haynes) and Antione (Thompson) in the Academy to bridge that gap between them and the gaffer and Russ (Milton) so they know what is available.
“It’s important that we are all working together to get talented young players out on the pitch and hopefully they didn’t do themselves an injustice today.”