Darren Ryan hopes to reap the rewards from a prolonged spell on the training pitch when he takes his Wolves Under-18s side to face Manchester United on Saturday.
Ryan’s men have gone three weeks without a competitive fixture due to rearrangements and the international break, but that period has given the coach time to iron out any creases in his side.
It was no easy time for the youngsters, who Ryan had on the training pitch regularly and now he’s hoping to see the benefit in Manchester.
“It’s been good for us to get out on the training pitch more,” he said. “We’ve worked on stuff we felt we needed to improve on and gave everyone minutes in friendlies.
“You can really identify the individual’s needs. Each player has their own targets, so as staff we’ve been able to focus on the players, not just on the training pitch but also in the gym for example.”
While the bulk of his squad grafted at Compton, Ryan also loosened the reins on several of his players, who spent invaluable time away on international duty last week.
“Terry Taylor went away with Scotland for friendlies and they beat Wales twice, which I wasn’t happy about and he let me know that,” joked the Welshman.
“Also, Dan McKenna and Dan Solker have been away with the Republic of Ireland and Hungary Under-19s in the European qualifiers and both got through which is great.
“Back here, Elliot Watt played for the Under-23s against Bury on Monday. He deserved his chance because he’s been great for us, both on and off the pitch.”
However, all focus is on a return to league action and a trip to Manchester United – a fixture Ryan is relishing after the Middlesbrough disappointment three weeks ago.
“The lads are looking forward to it and so am I. It’s a great opportunity to go to one of the biggest clubs in the world and it’s good for the academy to see how we compare.
“We were disappointed with the Middlesbrough result but not the performance. It’s all about their development and how they reacted to being 2-0 down told us a lot about their character,” he added.