Interim Academy manager Peter Wild was delighted with the response he got from his young Latics side as they picked up a point away at Rotherham United on Saturday.
The youth team faced disappointment on Thursday night as they exited the FA Youth Cup, but Wild was pleased with how his team coped with the preparation leading to Saturday’s game.
“They were really tough circumstances, but I thought all the players and staff managed it really well, we prepared well on Friday.” He said.
“The medical and sports science staff dealt with the players well and I think the boys as individuals dealt with themselves well which meant it gave us a chance Saturday.
“Obviously it was an early start with an early kick off, so with all that I thought everybody managed the situation very well.”
The Latics youth team took the lead through Declan Baldwin before a controversial penalty decision allowed Rotherham to grab the equaliser.
Despite the nature of the Rotherham goal, Wild said that the result was a fair reflection of the game, but he was pleased with the performance the young side put in.
“It was a tough game, we started really brightly which we were pleased with because we went into the game with no excuses and we wanted to put right the wrongs from Thursday night.” He commented.
“We took the lead and then got pegged back by a dubious penalty decision to say the least, so that knocked us a little bit and it took us a little while to get back into our stride.
“We played some really good stuff in the second half, but Rotherham hit us on a couple of counter attacks and probably should have scored a couple of goals.
“You take the circumstances of the game, how we played, and all things considered, we've got to be happy with a point in the end.”
With the Christmas break approaching for the youth team, Wild hopes they can finish the year on a high with a couple of more victories.
It will show the dramatic turn around for the academy who didn’t have the greatest of starts to the season.
“Let's make no bones about it we lost eight out of eight and we were bottom of the league cut well adrift of teams.
“We're now halfway up the league and we're challenging the lads with two games before Christmas to be firmly cemented in the top half of the table before our break.
“What a turnaround it would be for the whole academy, things are on the up and we're starting to see that, not just at the 18s, but all the way through the U9s-16s programme.”
Wild puts this turnaround largely down to all the work the academy staff do in the day-to-day running of all the youth teams.
“It's been well documented that we've had a reduce in staff by people leaving, so the three members of staff myself, Chris (Millington) and Craig (Large) have been fantastic.
“The medical staff are part of that as well, everybody has dug deep.
“Three months ago, the academy was going through a really rocky spell and I think the three of us have pulled the academy through that.
“Things are on the up and there was 20 Category One scouts at the 9-16s games yesterday, so we must be doing something right.”