ACADEMY manager Dan Robinson says there has to be a strong link between the first team and the academy in order to progress.
Six academy products were involved in Burton Albion reserves' 3-0 defeat to Notts County at the New Manor Ground this afternoon, as well as four academy players on the bench.
Robinson said: "The link is so strong. We haven't got the numbers of players for the link not to be strong."
Academy players have gained vital experience so far this season, coming up against the likes of Mansfield Town who fielded a reserve side with over 1,500 league appearances.
"We need to have a strong link because there are only 25 or so first team players so when these games (reserve games) come around then we need to have the players that can support the first team," said Robinson. "The crossover is the fact that the young players get the chance to play with the pros, against pros and with the first team manager there. It is such a good connection in that regard."
The link between the academy and the first team has grown closer over the past few seasons, which is imperative for Dan Robinson and the club.
He said: "I talk to the gaffer every day to work out what is best for training and for the club and that's why the link is so strong."