Academy boss Eric Kinder took his side to face a very strong Middlesbrough team on Tuesday afternoon and he came away feeling pleased as his young charges gave as good as they got for the bulk of the game.
“It was a very strong Boro side, and we went across with mainly first years and under-16s because we wanted the second years to get more training time in with the first team squad.
"As I've said a number of times now, I’ve got no problems with that because if we can help the gaffer at the same time as he's helping us, then that's what we'll do. This is what I meant when I spoke a few weeks ago about how much I've learned about myself and the job.
"If this was me sat here 13 years ago, when I first started, I would have been very selfish and complained. However, having now been on both sides of the fence, and having seen how much this manager is pro the youth team, I am more than happy. One thing I do understand is how hard it is at first team level, so he has my backing with whatever he wants to do."
“We had an opportunity to cancel the game," he told us. "I spoke to Middlesbrough on Monday and they mentioned that they wanted to play their team who will play Newcastle on Saturday.
"That's their first league fixture, so they wanted to do some final bits for that and, to be fair, we wanted minutes for our first years. They had a run out against Park View last week, but they haven’t played much other than that.
“To go up against a top team like Middlesbrough at their training ground was too good an opportunity to turn down and, to be honest, for the first 70 minutes we did much better than I expected. We had four under-16s in the squad to make the numbers up, but they all acquitted themselves really well."
“Middlesbrough beat Rangers last week so that’s the type of team they are," he commented. "They’re a typical Middlesbrough side, they pass the football and play the right way, and I always enjoy going there because you know they’ll approach it like that.
“We conceded a goal after about 1 minute and 20 seconds, and I did fear the worst, but the lads did really well. We went 2-0 down just after half time, but we then got a penalty.
"We had an under-16 trialist with us who was brought down, and he stood up and took the penalty himself, which was pleasing to see. He’s now on trial forms with us, so we’ll see how he does in the next six to eight weeks."
Speaking more about the game, he said: “We kept changing the side around and it wasn’t until the last 20 minutes when we’d run out of steam that Middlesbrough really took control.
"They stretched us and worked us hard after that. I expected our legs to go well before they did, especially playing against a top Category One side. They’re probably on their sixth friendly and we’re on our second, so that was pleasing."
"The other good thing about getting this game under our belts is that I've just heard that our first game of the season against Bury [scheduled for Saturday 3 August, kick off 11am] has been called off," he told us. "That's a real shame because we were looking forward to that.
"It's frustrating, because we wanted a game this Saturday, but luckily we had a game against Blackpool which needed to be rearranged because of our trip to Hungary with Erasmus in a fortnight's time.
"We've spoken to them and we've arranged it for Tuesday [August 6, kick off time tbc] which means we'll be able to get a game in before we go away."
We'll have more from Eric Kinder on the official website over the next few days as we talk about the build up to the new season and the experience his players have gained from having worked with the first team group.