Date: 30th July 2015 at 2:37pm
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With a two one victory over Gillingham at Priestfield last night, manager Chris Hughton has lauded the impact of the youngsters as we came from behind in the game.

Having rested a number of seniors for the game, although Jake Forster-Caskey, Gordon Greer and Dale Stephens returned – it was a more youthful line up for our penultimate pre season friendly of the summer.

Speaking to the Official Site following the game, the gaffer explained.

‘It was another good test for us. Gillingham showed a lot of energy and we knew that they would give us that. They are a young side, with young legs and very enthusiastic – but I felt we started the game very well.’

Hughton went on to say that for the opening 15 to 20 minutes he felt it was a very promising start from us, but then it was about matching the work rate of our hosts as they grew into the game and we ‘died away’ on that front towards the end of the first period.

Knowing improvement was needed in the second 45 he was pleased with the response – especially after we had gone a goal down.

‘We knew we needed to be better in the second half, and the injection of the young lads really gave us some energy. I was really delighted with our second goal. It was a well worked goal and overall a good work out for us. The major plusses were that Jake Forster-Caskey, Gordon Greer and Dale Stephens all got another sixty minutes under their belts.’

With summer signing Niki Maenpaa getting his first full game since arriving at the club, Hughton also had praise for him.

‘He did very well. He’s an experienced keeper and very vocal. He was really good, particularly in the second half, when we had a young group of players playing. They needed some experience behind them and he’s got a really good voice. We brought him in to make sure we are competitive, and we need to make sure he stays that way.’

With one final friendly against Seville left ahead of the Nottingham Forest Championship campaign kick off, Hughton went on to say that he was expecting Seville to be a step up in class for us though but despite being pleased with our preparations so far, clearly improvement is still required.

‘I would have liked more goals. By the time the first game comes everybody will be up for it. Results in pre-season generally don’t have a bearing on the start of your season. We need to make sure we are as injury free as we can be, and we’ve done all the preparation we can – and certainly the Sevilla game will be the biggest and best test we’ve had.’

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