Jason Dodd is expecting to have a more experienced squad for Saints Under-18s’ trip to Bolton this weekend.
The youngsters lock horns with the Whites on Saturday morning – kick-off at 11am – with selections that could bare resemblance to the sides deployed in their FA Youth Cup campaign earlier this season.
With the Development Squad’s season having drawn to a close, Dodd has the luxury of picking several players in the appropriate age range, which won’t require him to utilise certain players out of their usual position.
The coach told saintsfc.co.uk: “The Under-21s’ season has finished now, so it gives us an opportunity to look at a few of their boys to get game-time with us.
“Anthony Limbrick and his U16s are playing on Saturday as well so having some U21 players will certainly soften the blow of not having some of the youngsters to choose from.
“We’re hoping to have the likes of Jake Flannigan, Jason McCarthy, Jake Hesketh and Ryan Seager to boost our numbers.
“We’ve been light on numbers in the past four or five games, forcing us to ask players to play out of position, which has been tough for them. Hopefully, with a few extra bodies in, everyone will be playing in their relevant positions this time and put a decent performance in.”
Bolton currently sit 8th in the Barclays U18 Premier League North Group, a position Dodd feels isn’t a fair reflection on their performances this season.
The ex-Saints defender also revealed his delight at a rare opportunity for his charges to stay overnight and prepare, which provides them another method of mirroring the First Team.
“Bolton have been unlucky in some of their games,” he insisted. “They’ve been on the receiving end of some harsh defeats.
“They’re going to be physical. They’ve got a big lad up top, so we know it’s going to be a test and a battle.
“We haven’t stayed over for an away game since before Christmas. We haven’t had the luxury of travelling up, staying overnight and preparing. It’ll be nice to get that experience for the boys to see how the preparation works – even including the small aspects such as having breakfast there on matchday.”