Jimmy Neighbour has paid tribute to the application of his first year Academy group as they prepare to take on Everton in the Under-17 play-off semi-final on Saturday.
A strong second half to the campaign saw the under-17s push into the play-off positions and Leeds United were accounted for by a 3-1 scoreline in last week's quarter final at the Thorpe Arch training ground.
Goals from Jamie O'Hara, Stuart Lewis and Mark Wright secured the passage to this weeks home encounter with Everton with a performance all the more creditable due to the fact that many of the lads have been pushed on to the under-19s and reserves this season and managed to successfully re-group.
"It is tricky, I think Jamie O'Hara and Phil Ifil have played about one game each for us," reflected coach Jimmy. "They came down, having played under-19 and reserve football, and gave us a little bit of experience. Also, Charlie Daniels, Charlie Lee and Andy Barcham came back down and they are a good bunch of lads.
"They get on well together which is important and they showed it on Saturday. It was a good team effort and the team spirit was terrific - no-one at the club could have asked for more."
So it's Everton next at Spurs Lodge and Jimmy insists the boys have done themselves proud whatever the outcome against a strong Blues outfit.
"We had them watched and they beat Leicester 3-0 on Saturday in their quarter final - a great result for them," he added. "As I understand it, they are a very, very strong team and they won their league comfortably.
"It doesn't matter so much now, win, lose or draw the lads have excelled themselves. What is happening now is a bonus for them. We've got a lot of talent in this first year squad and they haven't played together regularly because most of the boys have been playing 19s football.
"So it is nice for them to get together and play and they are now on a high. If they can keep that going it will be great. We'll have a go at Everton and, if we win, tremendous. What will be will be.
"The one thing I must stress is that they are a terrific bunch of lads who have worked their socks off and every one of them has improved. I think that has shown in the games they've played in the last couple of months."