Development squad coach Neil Thompson paid tribute to “good pro” Glenn Loovens in the wake of their 1-1 draw at Sheffield United.
Club captain Loovens played all of last night’s Steel City derby as he continues his comeback from ankle surgery.
It was Loovens’ second consecutive outing for the Under-23s and Thompson believes it will benefit the 32-year-old in the long run.
Thompson told The Star: “Glenn is a good pro. He played over an hour against Birmingham and now got another 90 minutes which should stand him in good stead.”
Centre-back Loovens, Vincent Sasso and Will Buckley were handed starts at Bramall Lane and the trio all completed the full 90 minutes.
“They all put good shifts in and had the game time which they need,” said Thompson. “It is great for the young boys to see them playing.
“It gives them a bit of confidence as that’s the level they aspire to get to. They want to be first-team players.”
After a dour first half, Buckley, on loan from Sunderland until the end of the season, opened the scoring midway through the second period after George Long saved his initial effort.
But Ben Whiteman ensured it finished all square after his rasping right foot shot flew in off the underside of the bar.
Thompson said: “It was a keenly contested derby. I thought we started quite well but they got a momentum after their goal and we were hanging on in the end.
“A draw was probably a fair result. There weren’t loads of clear-cut chances.
“Matt Penney was super down that left hand side and James Murphy showed some nice touches in the middle of the pitch.
“We could have been better with the ball. I think we could have moved it quicker. We had too many touches at times.
“When you move the ball quicker, you move the opposition around more and that’s what these young boys have got to learn.”