Phil Brown held his weekly pre-match press conference on Thursday morning at Boots & Laces Training Ground.
The Blues boss was asked about the challenge ahead at facing a rejuvenated Northampton Town side and also about the fitness of some players.
But Brown also waxed lyrical of the Academy after three players started at Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday - Dru Yearwood, Harry Kyprianou and Elvis Bwomono - came through the system, with also four players - Jack Bridge, Nico Cotton, Michael Klass and Ted Smith - on the bench.
“It’s great to see the Academy flourishing,” he said.
“We were at the Southend Golf Day at Thorpe Hall [yesterday], and all the proceeds went to the Academy and producing young kids.
“You can see that it’s flourishing, there’s no doubt about it. The work that Ricky Duncan has done behind the scenes is priceless to me and I’m getting the rewards of that.
“Did Dru, Elvis and Harry deserve to be on the losing side on Tuesday? No, but these are the harsh realities of football and the lessons that they have to learn.”
On the upcoming test against the Cobblers and their new boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Brown added: “It will be a tough game. I wouldn’t say in-form side but you would say two wins out of two, he’s [Hasselbaink] doing something right.
“We know what he’s all about. He’s about hard work, he likes a bit of quality in his side and they’ve got an old player that used to be here in Alex Revell who is leading the line.
“It appears he’s shifted from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 – there’s lots of little things that he’s changed, but he’s just reinvigorated them. He’s given them a little bit of belief and that’s the hard part of the game.
“Our belief will be buoyed by the fact we’ve had two good performances against two very in-form teams. Two teams at the very top of our division.
“The Charlton game, I firmly believe after watching the videos and assessing the statistics, that we should have got something from.
“Then you go into the league leaders on Tuesday night and again in hindsight, assessing the statistics, we should have got something from the game.
“We’ve got to keep on believing in what we know works, and we will turn the corner.”
After a change of system on Tuesday night, partly to counteract Shrewsbury and partly due to injuries, Brown was asked if anybody is likely to return.
“There’s one or two coming out the treatment room.
“Nile is obviously now available due to the fact his curfew is 7 till 7 and the kick-off is 3 o’clock.
“Nile is available to us, Woody looks like he could be available to us, John White looks like he could be available to us, but we’ve got another 48 hours until that is confirmed.”