Reserves can produce Grimsby Town's talent of the future
GRIMSBY Town's Reserve team will separate the men from the boys – according to joint boss Rob Scott.
The Mariners' second-string made its return to action on Tuesday when a mixture of Youth team prospects and senior pros travelled to Gateshead.
A late goal from the hosts saw Town beaten 1-0 in their opening Central League clash of the season.
And while first-teamers Greg Fleming, Ian Miller, Simon Ford, Andi Thanoj and Louie Soares had a run-out, it was more about the youngsters for watching bosses Scott and Paul Hurst.
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"We know what the senior professionals are all about – we see them working day-in, day-out, and we know what they're capable of," Scott said.
"The Reserve team is handy for the pros that are out of the team and the lads coming back from injury, but, more importantly, it's a great stepping stone for the younger lads.
"And there are going to be times this season when we have to play an entire Youth team in Reserve matches because of the amount of games we have in this league and the travelling that's required. Only three of the pros finished the game on Tuesday because of injuries, and there will be occasions when they aren't any involved. So it's a good experience for the young lads."
While Youth team boss Adam Smith and goalkeeping coach Steve Croudson took charge pitch-side, Scott and Hurst picked the team and let the youngsters know what is expected of them.
"We had a good chat with them after the game to say 'that's your introduction to Reserve team football' and what's required to take the step up from Youth team football to men's football.
"They did okay, but I think it was a bit of a culture shock for some of them and there's a lot of hard work to be done by all of them before they can make the next step up. Young Josh Morrall has travelled with us to the Hereford match and been involved in a few pre-season games.
"But, largely, the youngsters are a little way off at the moment, not just in footballing terms but physically as well."
Scott was also quick to praise the more experienced faces on show for their professionalism at the Gateshead International Stadium.
He added: "It's difficult sometimes for the senior pros to motivate themselves to play in front of small crowds but that's what they need to do.
"We've all had to do it. They need to be conscientous and professional in their manner, and they all were on Tuesday.
"It wasn't a great game from us, but it was the first game and something to build on."