Graham Alexander insists his Fleetwood side will be ready for the kick off of their new League One campaign despite another pre-season defeat.
An early strike from Stephen Ward and a first half penalty from Marvin Sordell ensured the Championship club left Highbury the happier of the two sides.
But Town can take plenty of positives from their fifth warm-up defeat, not least the commanding performance of Jimmy Ryan at the heart of their midfield.
There was also a hint of the potential in French striker Vamara Sanogo who could have pulled a late goal back for the hosts, taking too long to pull the trigger after racing in on Tom Heaton’s goal.
“We’re still in the preparation stage for the season,” said Alexander.
“There’s been a definite improvement in our performances in the last two games, against Kilmarnock and Burnley.
“They’ve both been difficult tasks, one on an artificial pitch, another against a team which has just come out of the Premier League.
“A lot of our young boys will have learned a lot from this one.
“The likes of Tyler Forbes, Danny Andrew, Amari’i Bell, Lyle Della-Verde.
“These are lads with not so many league games between them.
“They’ll have learned an awful lot.
“But we played some really good stuff.
“We just need to improve or tweak a couple of things to make sure that come August 8 we’re taking points from games we deserve to.”
Fleetwood’s tough pre-season concludes on Friday with the visit of Getafe to Highbury.
And Alexander is adamant it was the right thing to test and stretch his young squad.
“There’s a lot of young players.
“It was no good having an easy pre-season, thinking we’re the bees-knees and coming to August 8 and getting a shock.
“We wanted to give them a test, to get them in the right mentality in training and then against some tough opposition. It’ll give us more answers than any other kind of game would.
“We want to know who can play where because there’s been a slight change in what we’re doing.
“We need to know they are up to the task.”
Alexander would much rather have his side drilled for a challenge than go into the new campaign with false confidence.
He said: “If you start looking into results in pre-season it gives you a false impression.
“I’ve been in pre-seasons where we’ve won every game and lost the first two.
“It happened at Burnley when we went up.
“It’s all about preparation, it has to be.
“It’s about having the eye on the long-term, having everybody as fit as we can.
“It’s about letting them know how we want them to play and having them interact the right way with their team-mates and we’re getting there game by game.”
And he’s in no doubt that the group will be ready when Southend visit Highbury onAugust 8.
“Without a doubt they’ll be ready,” the former Clarets defender said.
“As long as we don’t pick up any injuries to seniors, they’re in good shape.
“They’re confident, even with the results.
“We’re not looking at that, we’re looking at performances, breaking it down and showing where we can improve.”