David Unsworth admits he has enjoyed watching both players and staff involved with the Under-21s develop enormously over the course of the 2014/15 season.
No less than five Academy graduates – who have all been regulars in Unsworth’s squad - made their debuts for the first team over the course of the season, while the Club’s staff rotation policy has seen coaches from all age levels gain experience of working with the group.
A large number of young Blues have also spent time out on loan, with the majority of those taking in spells in the Football League.
As such, it has been a campaign that will only benefit the group according to Unsworth.
“I think it’s been a great season, I really do,” he insisted. “If you look at our performances up until the period where we let everyone go out on loan, we were sat second in the league.
“But winning the league and not getting any players through is pointless. To have 12 players out on loan is brilliant and for me, it’s what this job is all about.
“We’ve also had five debuts this season from our boys and that is an honour and a privilege to say that. When was the last time we said that? It really is fantastic.
“There will never be a period where we will settle for them just doing OK. We want to continually stretch them because that’s how they improve and we want them to improve as quickly as they can because we want as many players involved in our first team as possible.”
Unsworth has also been pleased with the environment in which his players have been developing. Alongside his regular presence, the rotating pool of coaches means there have been different ways of thinking continually put to the group. It is a practice he has supported.
“There’s great staff around the Under-21s and we have a coach rotation system in place so all the Academy guys have been involved with us at some point which is great for their development as well," he added.
“There are fresh voices and new ideas all the time and the staff are so dedicated.
“We are magnificently supported by the manager and his team. There’s a real togetherness here and it’s a great feeling.
“But at the end of the day all the matters is the players’ success and their progression - and we have certainly had massive progression this year.”