Interim TNS boss Scott Ruscoe is already looking to the future following the Welsh champions’ elimination from the Champions League.
In their two Shropshire Senior Cup games, the Saints blooded a host of youngsters alongside returning first-teamers ahead of tomorrow’s final against Shawbury.
And Ruscoe says the last stage of pre-season plans are in hand as they look to win a seventh consecutive Welsh Premier League, starting on August 12.
“We were able to blood some youngsters because of the European games,” said Ruscoe.
“There were five or six 16, 17 and 18-year-olds making those teams up, and that’s good for the next two or three years if the cycle keeps going.
“What we want is at least one or two making the grade each year.
“And it was good for the likes of Christian Seargeant, Alex Darlington and Greg Draper – they’ve all had minutes on the pitch now, which is important.
“The players had a few days off after Tuesday and we’re back in today onwards and preparing for the final against Shawbury tomorrow.
“Then there will be a couple of recovery days before we go up to Leicester City’s training ground for a friendly with their under-23s and some first-teamers.
“We’re looking for one last friendly on Saturday, August 5 before the season starts so hopefully we’ll have three or four games before the league starts.
“It’s good we’ve kept the lads focused and that we have that high-profile friendly, too – the players need that. You don’t want too much of a break because you lose your fitness.
“But it was good that two days after HNK we were able to get rid of the disappointment – it’s taken me a couple of days – by going straight into a game.”
TNS ran in 14 goals against a Telford side who worked hard for little reward and had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping the score down.
Ruscoe, while happy to give players minutes, admitted he was disappointed by Telford’s decision to field their youth team in the thumping win – a move which has left Shropshire FA chiefs seeking talks with the Bucks.
Ruscoe added: “AFC Telford played a young side in the Shropshire Cup. They had played on the Tuesday and then had a game on the Saturday, so obviously have the cup the least priority.
“We don’t mind playing the Shropshire Senior Cup but we want to play against a decent standard of side, otherwise there’s no point us putting first-team players in there.
“Don’t get me wrong, we got some fitness advantages out of it but other than that, you’re not learning a great deal. I just hope next time it’s taken seriously.
“We did tell the lads Telford would have a young team and I did wonder how our first-teamers would react. But we told the players to prepare as normal and credit to them, their attitude and application was incredible, all the way to the 90th minute.
“It could have been 25-0 – their keeper made 10 great saves.”
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