Youngsters staking a claim for Blues' first team
GARY Waddock says his younger players are staking a claim for a place in the Wanderers team when the season kicks off after positive showings in their first friendly.
A total of nine players who have progressed from the club's youth set-up featured during the 2-1 win at Farnborough and a number put in eye-catching performances.
Out-of-position Anthony Stewart put in a fine display at right back and Jesse Kewley-Graham and former youth team captain Max Kretzschmar both put in accomplished passing performances in midfield.
Wanderers' Centre of Excellence was scrapped during the summer due to cost cutting measures, but with the number of permitted substitutes being increased back to seven Waddock will have the opportunity to give youth a chance this campaign.
And the Blues boss said he was completely open-minded about which players will be in his starting XI when the season kicks off at York City next month.
He said: "With the youth department going we were keen to make sure the young players continue to develop here at the club and they certainly did that today. They put in a good shift.
"The opportunities are there for the players. They have got to stake a claim. Today was about getting match practice and fitness - it's too early to read into anything in terms of what the team will be. That will take its course as we go along."
Results in pre-season do not usually concern Waddock, who described the Farnborough game as a fitness exercise for his players.
Last pre-season the players trained on the morning of some of Wanderers' friendlies and although Waddock has not done that yet, he is happy with what he is seeing on the training ground.
He said: "The whole group have been first class from day one. Training ground fitness to match fitness is completely different. We need to sharpen up - that will be later on in pre-season. There's things to work on, like there always is. Today was a good start for us against a good club.
"You'll have to ask the players if they've been worked hard or not but I've been pleased with their general fitness and their attitude has been excellent."