SWINDON Town U18s boss Alan McLoughlin says he is looking for character in his side ahead of their home clash with Cheltenham Town.

Last weekend, Town’s youngsters lost their first game of the Youth Alliance League South West season, where they were beaten 2-0 away to Yeovil Town.

However, the Town legend is now looking to see how his players have dealt with the defeat during the week, ahead of today’s match at Stanley Park, Chippenham (11am).

“It’s at home so I am expecting the players who played last week to give a better account of themselves, with the ball, or more importantly without it,” McLoughlin said.

“I see real characters when it is not going well and they’re prepared to dig in, that is what you need to make it in football, or any sport.

“There are more downs than ups in football. You have to be able to deal with the downs, mentally they will have to learn quickly.

“They need to grow up a little bit and understand you have no given right because you’ve made a good start to the season.”

With last weekend’s defeat their first in nine outings as a youth side, a run which stretches back to the end of last season, McLoughlin says it’s important the club don’t lose focus this weekend.

The youth boss reiterated that his players have to cut out mistakes if they are to bounce back, as they have a short period of time to impress if they are to gain a professional contract.

“The defeat is good for me really. There is no way we were going to go through the season without losing, it was always going to happen at some point,” he added.

“It’s how they react to that and what they do to convince me they have a good positive mindset, if it is right I believe we can win more games than we lose.

“Everyone makes mistakes, it is how you handle it from there on in. In the next minute, the next half an hour and the next Saturday.

“Not only that, we want a good team ethic too. We have a winning mentality, the work ethic still has to be there, the players only have an 18-month window to showcase their ability.”

Swindon Town Ladies host Crystal Palace tomorrow (2pm) at Cinder Lane in Fairford.