Chris Powell praised Michael Timlin and Dru Yearwood for their recent partnership in the middle of midfield.
Josh Wright and Sam Mantom both got minutes under their belts in the U23s win over MK Dons on Tuesday, and Anthony Wordsworth is also closing in on a return.
And Powell is delighted to have options at his disposal in midfield ahead of Saturday’s trip to Oldham,
“I’ve got to say they’ve been excellent, Michael Timlin and Dru Yearwood. They’ve had a good partnership in there.
“Tims with his experience and what we’ve asked him to do, he’s done it really well.
“We’ve asked him to control that area in the middle of the park, not to vacate it too often, because I know Tims is known as a player that is very energetic and wants to get into tackles, but he can do it from a solid shape, a solid base.
“He’s been top-drawer and it’s allowed Dru to do what Dru does best.
“He’s a powerful young man, he challenges, he’s combative and he will always look to play, and play forward, and drive forward.
“They’ve dove-tailed really well. It’s up to people like Josh [Wright] and Sam [Mantom] to work their way back in and it puts nice pressure on the two lads in there to play well, but equally I know I’ve got one or two options, which is really good.
“We’ve got Anthony Wordsworth as well who is on his way back. He’s a little bit behind the others but not too far. He’s training with us.
“We’re hopeful of having a friendly game next week and he will be involved in that. If he comes through then there is another good option for us.
“I want that medical room clear and we’re working our way towards that.”
At 18-years-old, Yearwood has blossomed under Powell having played in each of the five games he has been in charge of.
But the Blues boss said Yearwood himself knows he has more learning to do.
“It’s up to him and us that he thinks about his game, looks to improve his game,” Powell added.
“He’s only 18 and sometimes we expect too much.
“I think everyone should remember that this is a young player who not too long ago was playing for our youth team, and now he’s excelling against the Wigan’s and Portsmouth’s and the like.
“We’re very happy with that, but he’s got a long way to go yet.
“We’ve got to make sure that he keeps looking to learn.”
On the test his side face against the Latics, Powell added: “It’s been up and down for them.
“I know Ritchie Wellens really well, we were teammates at Leicester and he was a very stylish midfielder. His team started off like that for sure and got some really good results.
“They had a dip like most teams do at this level, but they’ve picked themselves up again.
“It’s a tough game for us in respect of not only them picking up recently, but they’re fighting for the lives.
“Like most teams we’re coming up against in the next few weeks, they’re going to be a real test of our resolve.”