SWINDON Town assistant coach Scott Marshall congratulated young defenders Harrison Minturn and Callum Winchcombe on a fine opening performance for the first team but warned “the debut can be easier than the second game.”

Minturn, 18, and Winchcombe, 17, produced highly encouraging performances on Tuesday night as Swindon Town kept a clean sheet during a 1-0 victory over Newport County in the EFL Trophy.

The pair of academy graduates have flirted with the first team since Ben Garner took over as head coach, but it wasn’t until Town’s last game that they were finally given their opportunity to start.

Speaking after the game, assistant coach Marshall suggested adrenaline and emotion can get a player through a debut game, but it’s not until the second chance that you see a youngster’s true character.

Marshall said: “I wouldn’t say I was surprised (they played well).

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with young players quite a bit over the course of my coaching career so far, so I’m never too surprised when guys come along and do well. Others don’t, but it was nice to see some good early performances.

“I always think the second performance is always a little bit different – the debut can be easier than the second game, whenever that comes for them.

“But they certainly did well (against Newport) and we’re pleased with their performances.”

With future opportunities expected to be fairly limited for development players, the possibility of a loan experience may well pay off in the long run.

But Marshall said no decisions have been made just yet, and it would have to suit the player 100 per cent before an agreement is reached.

He said: “We’ll have a look at their development plans and their-long term plans. Obviously, you have an idea of what they need in the future, and we’ll discuss that in greater detail with them.

“Whichever opportunities that come along, we’ll certainly look at them and make any decisions with the players’ interests at heart.

“But they’ve got to play well every time they go out on the pitch, whether that’s training with the under-18s group, training with the first-team group, or going out on loan. They’ve got to concentrate on applying themselves and improving every day.

“That’s the main thing that we’d look for, and they’ve got to make sure they’re developing their understanding of what is needed to be a professional footballer.

“They know they’ve still got a way to go, and we want to keep educating them as best as we can.”