Walsall Assistant and Development Coach Brian Dutton felt there were plenty of positives to take from the goalless draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers Under 23s on Tuesday night.
The Saddlers were left frustrated as Wolves held firm to keep Darrell Clarke’s side at bay.
22 players were involved again as they got more valuable minutes into their legs ahead of what is set to be a hectic 2020-21 fixture schedule.
Overall, Dutton was pleased with what he saw on the night.
“We take a lot of positives from that game,” Dutton said.
“It was another good workout, two possession-based teams and another warm night so physically we take a lot out of the game.
“I thought our lads looked sharp, their closing down, their pressing, their work ethic to win the ball back and they showed some composure when they won it back to create opportunities so we’re really pleased with the workout today.
“It’s the craziest season we’ll all have encountered with in terms of the amount of fixtures that will be condensed into a short period of time so we’ve got to manage this pre-season and get as much work into the boys, get as many minutes into the full squad because they will all be needed throughout the season without risking injury which is very difficult.
“The S&C coaches and the medical department have had a lot of questions fired at them because we often don’t have the answers to these questions because it’s so peculiar.”
Academy products Joe Foulkes and Jayden Campbell have featured in both pre-season friendlies so far.
Dutton has been impressed with their application and believes their strong work ethic will stand them in good stead for the future.
“Credit to the youngsters, they’ve come back fit and they’re pushing themselves,” he commented.
“It’s always down to the mentality I find, it’s not a case of finding pure talent that will find its way to the top with a click of the fingers without doing the hard miles.
“It’s a case of the young lads applying themselves, preparing themselves and trying to get a first team shirt and keeping it.
“To do that you’ve got to have an unbelievable work ethic and we’ve got that with this group of players.
“They are all pushing each other, they are all helpful to each other and it is competitive and I’m really pleased we’ve how the youngsters have come through and it’s a bright future hopefully.”
The Saddlers are back in action on Friday afternoon as they travel to Shrewsbury Town for a behind-closed-doors friendly. Kick-off is at 12pm.