SWINDON Town U18s manager Alan McLoughlin has seen plenty of promising signs from his youngsters as they prepare for their first home game of the season today.

Town began their EFL Youth Alliance South West League campaign with a 4-3 win away at Portsmouth last Saturday – coming from 2-0 down in the process – and now host Plymouth Argyle this morning.

It has been a largely new-look group that McLoughlin and academy manager Jeremy Newton have been working with over the summer but there has been much to enthuse the pair so far.

McLoughlin said: “It was a bit of a slow start to the last game but overall, I was delighted with the players. They showed really good character to come from a couple of goals down and get themselves ahead.

“It was a positive start to the season and the boys are ready for the next game and hopefully they can put in another good performance.

“There are currently 10 first year scholars, whereas last year I had a bit of luxury as I had a lot of second year scholars. It’s going to take a little bit of time for them to get to understand how we play and the physicality of full-time training.

“These boys have just come straight from school so they will find it difficult to start with in terms of their daily workload but it is just a matter of managing those players.

“There is a mental side to it too as they have come from a nice environment at school to one that is quite intense. Some players find it easy to adapt to and some take a bit longer.

“Physically, it has been quite a demanding pre-season. It’s time to wind down a bit now and get a bit more into the technical side of things.”

After going 2-0 down early on against Portsmouth, Elliot Dugan led Town’s fightback with a brace of goals.

Jordan Edwards and Jacob Bancroft were also on target as the visitors turned the game around to lead 4-2 at the break and although Pompey reduced the arrears with a second-half penalty, Town held on to start the season in winning fashion.