SWINDON Town’s Under 18s slipped to a three-goal loss against Southampton’s back-up U18s on Tuesday afternoon, a result which didn’t take manager David Farrell by surprise.

Town’s youngsters were taking part in another friendly while they wait for their Central League fixtures to be published, which are expected to start on February 16.

Farrell insists Tuesday’s game should act as a lesson learnt for his youngsters, adding that only one or two of Southampton’s squad are likely to establish a successful career in the Football League.

He said: “They (Southampton) are a category one academy, so they have an indoor dome, several grass pitches of high quality – the usual Premier League setup.

“Despite that, the team that played yesterday are much like our level.

“Not many will make it, it’s as simple as that. They have a squad of 27 scholars, and the team that played us yesterday was made up of players that don’t get many minutes in their under 18s team.

“It’s difficult, you might get one that will play in the Football League. But that’s how it is.

“And obviously they get a chance to showcase what they can do in every game.

“It’s a learning process for everybody, there are no guarantees in football.

“The point of the friendlies is to get some minutes in their legs and maybe have a look at a few different things that we could use in the Merit League.

“It was useful and a good game to be part of.”

The Under 18s have another friendly arranged for this weekend as they travel to Wimbledon.

Despite no points being on the table, Farrell wants his players to treat the game like a league match.

He said getting into good early habits can only benefit their playing styles as their careers develop.

“I don’t like to say friendly games aren’t competitive – all games are competitive, no matter who it is against,” said Farrell.

“Yes, we won’t be picking up points. But I want the boys to play competitively because it’s a good habit to get into.

“Whether it’s training, friendly matches or league matches it’s good for them to get into these habits.”