Jon Brady praised the club's player pathway as he reflected on Tuesday night’s Papa John’s Trophy tie with Brighton under 21s.
Twelve of the seventeen players on duty are current or former academy players and Brady said it was a good night for the young players at the club.
“For us to compete the way we did I thought it was an excellent night for the football club,” he said.
“With the youngsters we had out there tonight it shows how strong the academy is and the player pathway we have here.
“The senior pros we had on the pitch were a real inspiration to those young players and we’ve got a good connection at this club from top to bottom.
“We are disappointed to lose the game with the way we played and that just shows how well they did tonight.
“Brighton are third in their league, they move the ball well and they are very good in what they do. We gave them a really good game and dominated for parts of the second half."
Speaking about Josh Tomlinson who became the club’s youngest ever player at the age of 15, Brady said:
“He deserved the opportunity and we are so pleased for him.
“Josh played a lot of games for me when I was youth team manager, he was playing four years above his age then and he plays way above his years.
“Physically he is strong, his distribution is good, he reads the game well and he hardly put a foot wrong tonight.
“We have got a bit of a sickness bug going through the group at the minute and we will just have to see how everyone is going into the weekend.”