Southampton Under-18s kick-off their new season with a trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday in the Under-18 Premier League.
Craig Fleming's team have enjoyed a strong pre-season campaign, and will be hoping to carry that forward into what is a challenging start to the 2016/17 term.
Saints begin with a visit to Spurs tomorrow (11.30am BST), before then hosting Chelsea, with games against two more traditionally-strong sides, in the shape of West Ham and Arsenal, to follow.
Having looked impressive during the summer, though, Fleming believes this will be an ideal test for his youngsters.
"If it's anything to go by last year, and historically, it's probably two of the toughest teams in the league, in Spurs and Chelsea, first up," he said. "I think it's great, I think it's exciting. It's fantastic and it's a good early indicator of how far they've come as a team."
Reflecting on the work over the summer, Fleming added: "We've worked ever so hard in pre-season, with six good games and a good block of training.
"It all starts for real now, but the point I've been trying to make to the boys is every game matters, whether it's a pre-season friendly or in a training session, because ultimately they're trying to get a contract at the club."
This pre-season has also been a positive one for Fleming himself, who only came into the club after last season's preparations had begun, while he was also then hampered by a bad injury of his own.
"Obviously, last year, it coincided with snapping my achilles and it was just a bit of a struggle," he said. "I came into a pre-season that had already been organised, whereas this one I've been able to get a bit more hands-on and involved in timings of games and types of opposition and training and stuff like that. It's been pleasing."