Swansea City's U23 set-up will compete in the Premier League 2 Division 1 next season after a triumphant 2016-17 campaign, and Gary Richards - according to a report published by the club's official website - claims his fold are 'relishing' the challenge which lies ahead of them.
Lifting the Division 2 title in April, the fledgling Swans kick-off the next chapter in their development against Liverpool at Fairwood on Friday, August 11th - a tough test indeed against the Reds' equivalent youth rank.
Richards and his men also have a Checkatrade Trophy encounter against League Two outfit Cheltenham Town to contend with on Tuesday, August 15th, although the squad are supposedly ready to hit the ground running.
“Our first four games only whets our appetite for the coming season,” Richards claimed.
“Playing in division one means we will line up against some of the best opposition and young players in the country.
“This season is a huge opportunity for our young players and we are relishing the challenge that lays ahead.
Coming off the back of a decorated previous campaign, Swansea's U23s are not giving themselves a moment to dwell on their past successes, and Richards continued to proclaim that the side are prepared to prolong the form which saw them own a number of flattering plaudits last term.
“The whole team is working hard to be ready for our first game against Liverpool." He said.
“We are pleased with our progress so far this pre-season and feel like we have picked up from where we left off last campaign.”
Away ties against Manchester United and West Ham United will end August for the development squad, so understandably the collective squad will have to be at the top of their game if they're to be regarded as a true force to be reckoned with.
The PL2 is the perfect place for the future stars of the English game to prove themselves, and with Paul Clement's first squad vying to have a stronger 2017-18 season, perhaps a few of Richards's talents will make the step-up to life at the Liberty Stadium once and for all.