Everton Under-21s are braced for their first game of pre-season against Southport on Saturday.
The young Blues travelled to Austria earlier this month to commence their preparations for the new campaign and have now returned to Finch Farm for a series of games in the UK.
They were joined in the Alps by Kevin Sheedy's Under-18 squad, which allowed the groups to overlap in training.
And one youngster who joined the Under-21s for the duration and subsequent week is Kieran Dowell.
The 16-year-old became a first-year scholar at the Club in June - a key milestone in his fledging career.
"Since I joined Everton [aged seven], that’s always been the aim - to get my scholarship," he told evertontv.
"I’m happy with that and now I’ll keep pushing on. Austria was a great experience to be involved in and get to know some of the lads a bit better.
"I’d like to be involved [on Saturday] but there are also a lot of friendlies for the Under-18s over the next few weeks. I’d like to be involved in either and just get a few games.
"Pre-season is vital. We’ve been told it’s important to get a good start so you get a season under your belt."
Kick-off between Southport and Everton XI on Saturday is at 3pm. Fans wishing to attend the game can pay on the gate – adult tickets are priced £8 and concessions £5.