Defender Matty Ireland was one of three current youth team players included in the first team squad for Tuesday’s EFL Trophy group stage tie at home to Oxford United.
Speaking after the youth team's 4-2 win at home to Bristol Rovers on Saturday, Ireland reflected on his first team experience.
He said: “Being on the bench was a great experience, and I was really excited when I got the call to say I was in the squad.
“There were a few nerves, but I feel like I deserved the chance because I’ve been playing well recently.
“I’m going to keep working hard and hopefully get more opportunities in the future.”
The Under 18s return to EFL Youth Alliance South East action at home to Stevenage next week.