In The Dundee United matchday programme we spoke to David Longwell for an Academy update
The U18s have been away this week on a training camp up in Scotland.
Games were scheduled against Newcastle United, St Mirren and Hearts to give the youngsters a good standard of opposition over the pre-season tour away.
Town Talk grabbed a word with Academy Manager David Longwell to see how the tour has been going.
"It's been going very good so far, we travelled up on Saturday and played Newcastle on Sunday", said David.
"We then travelled up to Edinburgh and played St Mirren on Tuesday.
"It's been beneficial in that all the boys are being together and that gives us a really good chance to look at things we need to work on.
"We lost the Newcastle game 3-2 and then for consistency they lost 3-2 again against St Mirren.
"When you have the likes of James Rowland playing for the first team, and then Tom Davies and Will Lloyd joining them it weakens us, but for the right reasons.
"There have been some really positive moments in the games, and some areas that we need to improve on."
One of the benefits of the tour away is that all the youngsters are away together as a group. This means they spend a lot of time in each other's company and David believes this is good to bond them together.
"It has been good to be away together as the lads have to try and bond a little bit better together as a group", said David.
"I think that is important as we have a mixture with some U16s and trialist with us.
"It is good to integrate the younger ones with the older ones.
"We have been doing the normal football stuff in the day then at night different things like quizzes, but also a lot of analysis to get some feedback sessions.
"We do all these things at home but as we've got more time here we sit with them every night and go through the games, then preview the next game and look to maximise their development."
As with all pre-season programmes at any club the plan is in place to get all the players minutes on the pitch. At Academy level, the important thing is to develop players and that comes ahead of results.
"We chop and change to give everyone a chance but if we wanted to win games we could just stick a team out and keep that same team for the whole game", said David.
"It's not about that though, we are making seven or eight subs a game and trying to balance out the minutes so no one is playing a full 90 minutes.
"We are looking for some to play 60 minutes one game and then 30 minutes in the next as we are still in the middle of pre-season we want to improve their fitness levels without pushing them too much.
"The aim is to get to the start of the season and have everyone at their absolute peak so when we go into the first game we go into that in great condition."
Town's first team took on Cheltenham Town on Tuesday night in one of their pre-season games. With it being so close to the Aston Villa game it meant the recovery period was short, and this gave a chance for a number of the youngsters. On the evening out of the fifteen players in the Town squad, eight of those had come through the club's Academy.
"It is great to see that, you have the experience of Dave Edwards right down to the likes of younger ones James Rowland and Tom Davies", said David.
"It's a really good pathway to look at, from one age level right through to an older pro we have players who have come from our Academy.
"The biggest thing for me is I speak to Sam regularly and he said the boys did well last night.
"It is a big incentive for the boys we have here in the U18s but also for the younger groups."
Team v St Mirren: Jayden Beven, Ethan O'Toole, Elliot Tibbs, Lewi Redding, Edan Sears, Ben Woolham, Jemaine Turner, Lewis Duberry, Charlie Caton, Liam Thomas, Nigel Aris
Subs: Sam Agius, Dan Walker, Zach Hartley, Archie Elmore, Charlie Dixon, Ryan Grosvener, Ify Udanoh, Jack Tolley
Team v Newcastle: Sam Agius, Zach Hartley, Dan Walker, Lewi Redding, Edan Sears, Tom Davies, Nigel Aris, Ethan O'Toole, Archie Elmore, Ryan Grosvener, Liam Thomas.
Subs: Jayden Beven, Charlie Caton, Elliot Tibbs, Ben Woolham, Jemaine Turner, Lewis Duberry, Charlie Dixon, Ify Udanoh, Jack Tolley