Notts County manager Chris Kiwomya is not convinced his young players are ready for League One.
But he admits he has little choice but to put faith in teenagers such as Curtis Thompson and Romello Nangle.
He told BBC East Midlands Today: "They are not ready. But sometimes you don't know until they get on the pitch."
Defender Hayden Hollis, 20, is the oldest of a host of emerging players who recently signed contracts to stay with the Meadow Lane club.
Nangle, 18, made seven appearances and scored once, while the 19-year-olds Tyrell Waite, Greg Tempest and Thompson also featured under Kiwomya last term.
Goalkeeper Fabian Spiess, 19, who also came through the club's youth academy, was given a run in the side when Bartosz Bialkowski was sidelined with injury.
Notts finished 12th, nine points off the play-offs, last term after getting off to a strong start under then-manager Keith Curle.
His side missed out on a play-off spot on goal difference in the 2011/12 season, but the former Manchester City, Wolves and England defender was sacked when County dropped to 10th in the league and five points off the play-off places in February.
Kiwomya was promoted from development squad manager to caretaker boss after Curle's departure and signed a three-year deal in March.
The 43-year-old won five, drew seven and lost five of his 17 games in charge last season, with his first full campaign at the helm of the Meadow Lane outfit starting at Sheffield United on Friday (19:45 BST).
Kiwomya expects the young Magpies to grow in stature as first-team responsibility is thrust on them.
"I think once they play games they will become better players, but they need to show commitment first," he said.
"It is up to the players to go out there and have commitment, work hard for the team and give 100% - that is all you can ask."
Kiwomya is convinced he has struck a good balance of youth with experience in the transfer market.
Ex-Charlton Athletic and Ipswich Town striker Danny Haynes, Mark Fotheringham, David Bell, Mustapha Dumbuya and Andy Howarth joined the club in the summer.
"I trust in the players that I've got in the squad," Kiwomya said.
"There are bigger teams than ourselves with bigger budgets, and that can get you better players, but once we cross the line we have to find a way of winning games."