SWINDON Town manager Mark Cooper was once again impressed by the impact made by his youngest charges, as the Robins lost 1-0 at home to Southampton last night.

Town produced some good football at times at the County Ground, though they ultimately were beaten by Jos Hooiveld’s 50th-minute strike from a corner, and the likes of Connor Waldon, Lee Marshall and Will Randall came off the bench in the second half to glowing praise from their boss.

Second-year scholars Randall and Marshall are set to be involved with the first team for long periods during the upcoming campaign, and Cooper is already delighted by the progress they have made thus far.

“Not a lot happened in the first half and in the second I thought we did quite well. I thought the kids made a difference and lit the place up for us – Waldon, Randall, Marshall – I thought they were a breath of fresh air. They’ve given us something to think about again,” he said.

“There’s no fear or worries about reputations – they just go out and play. I was really, really pleased with them.

“It’s another step in terms of our fitness, we’ve got through with no injuries and in patches we’ve shown a little bit of good football. It was important, with our lack of numbers, that we didn’t take a pasting to dent the confidence. “ Of Hooiveld’s goal, Cooper said: “We worked on set pieces in the morning, one of our centre-halves has left Hooiveld free and that’s not acceptable. We’ll watch the clips and see who it was.”

Swindon face Bedfont & Feltham on Thursday evening and are expected to field a development squad for the fixture.

“We’ll possibly mix it up and add a more youthful look to the team on Thursday,” said Cooper.