Sean Wood said that Swindon Town under-18s’ magical run to the FA Youth Cup fifth round has been huge for the progression of the academy players.

Town will play in the competition’s fifth round against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Friday night and progression would see them into the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007 and a side propelled by Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Wood said that success in this competition has been one of several impressive achievements from the academy this year.

He said: “I like our boys playing in front of our own fans because there have been several names that have been involved with the first team and we have had four league debuts, but we have to expose our young players to different challenges.

“As everyone keeps talking about, we are trying to progress the academy and produce more players that can play in our first team.

“What this tournament does is give these players the kind of experiences that you can’t give to them in the normal games programme.

“Travelling to Sunderland is another massive step towards their challenges and where they can get to, who can cope? Who is ready for the next level?

“I would think we are the only club in the country that has had every single under-18s player train with the first team this season, which is a huge achievement.

“At the moment we have a good group of players, the team is doing well, and they are together, but we have also got really good individuals within the team that we have got high hopes for.

“If we can do what we did against Manchester United, Luton away, and in a lot of our league games this year, then we have a very good chance of progressing.”

Wood said that he had made sure that the side’s full focus was on this game and not developing any overconfidence after beating Manchester United.

He said: “The message that we have spoken about is that the next game is always the hardest game.

“You have got to focus everything towards the next game and not reflect too much and get too carried away with the previous achievement.

“Obviously it was a brilliant evening for the boys, but now we have got full focus on Sunderland and arguably it will be a tougher game to hit the heights of the Manchester United fixture.”