Port Vale first team coach, Danny Pugh, says yesterdays Central League Cup tie against Mansfield Town was a great opportunity for some first team players to get some minutes under their belt.
The 2-1 loss against the Stags means the Vale can no longer qualify for the knockout stages of the competition, but for many first team players who haven't been featuring as much recently, it enabled them to get 90 minutes into their system.
As well as playing the full game, the likes of Ryan Lloyd and Richie Bennett will have gained huge confidence after both playing a vital part in Vale's only goal.
Lloyd's brilliant ball over the top of the Mansfield defence fed in Bennett who saw the goalkeeper off his line, and looped the ball over him to draw the Valiants level.
With other players such as Shaun Brisley, Callum Evans and Rhys Browne completing the full game, Pugh says that will be vital for the club with the first teams upcoming fixtures and was pleased with Vale's equaliser.
"It is massively important, on the main pitch as well, it helps. We were against decent opposition and most of the lads managed to get 90 minutes which will do them the world of good.
"We have another batch of games coming up so this will have sharpened a few of the lads up and given the manager something to think about.
"It was a great ball by Lloydy and a great bit of movement by Benno and a lovely finish. I think we could have got a couple more with the chances we had if we'd just been a bit sharper in the box, a bit more clinical."
Like Vale, Mansfield lined up with half a side of senior players including Jacob Mellis, Otis Khan and former Vale striker Craig Davies.
For young academy centre-back, Louis Lake, this provided a unique challenge to defend against some experienced league players alongside Shaun Brisley.
The youngster caught the eye of Danny Pugh who was really pleased with the defenders performance against an experienced Mansfield side.
"They (Mansfield) were a threat and experienced but you want to play against those players in these kind of games. It is more realistic and it is a good challenge for the lads."