Kevin Sheedy says his Everton Under-18s side are itching to play competitive football again.
The young Blues have seen matches repeatedly postponed due to the recent foul weather, resulting in them fulfilling just one fixture since 10 December.
That was a 3-2 home win over Reading on 10 January, but they have since seen an FA Youth Cup fourth round tie at Port Vale called off on three separate occasions.
Saturday's trip to Bolton is seemingly fine to go ahead however. And with the rescheduled cup game at Vale Park set for Thursday, Sheedy admits it’s a real relief to finally get back to business.
He said: "We keep getting ready for the games but the weather hasn't been kind to us and it's been very frustrating for the players and the staff.
"Reading was our first game of the new phase and it was a good win. It was a real shame that our games since then have been cancelled because the lads have been buzzing.
"They [Reading] are a good side but we put in our best performance of the season so far. You could see the confidence in the lads and it's a blow not to have played any more games.
“But it's part and parcel of the game and we've just had to keep the lads ticking over.
"On top of the cancellations, the boys all had 12 days off over Christmas, which I don't agree with. It's a traditionally busy time for football and we should have had the same fixtures as the first team. Players have to get used to playing a high volume of games and learn about recovery.
"We've got the game against Bolton and then a date of 7 February at Port Vale, so hopefully we'll get it played at last. It's a tough draw but we're looking forward to it because we haven't had many competitive games.
"We had a friendly match against Sheffield United this week which was at least a game, even though it obviously didn't have the cutting edge of three points at stake. It was a case of giving the whole squad a bit of a run out and everyone had some game time."
Look out on evertonfc.com on Saturday to find out how the young Blues fare at Bolton. The winners of Thursday’s FA Youth Cup tie face a fifth round trip to Arsenal later this month.