Billy Heath took plenty of positives from Alfreton Town's pre-season clash at home to Scunthorpe United on Tuesday night.
The Reds lost 4-1 to the Sky Bet League Two outfit but performed well for large parts of the encounter as they prepare for the new National League North season which is just over a week away.
And Heath paid tribute to his players.
He said: "lt's been a great work-out for us again.
"In the first-half we were superb, that was Scunthorpe's first team and I don't think there was much in it at all.
"We definitely deserved to be level at the break and a raft of substitutions at the end saw us bring a lot of the young players on and that made it difficult against quality opposition.
"What I will say is that they stuck to their task really, really well, and of the rest of the players that were on the field, I never saw once anybody stop working, running or trying and once again it's been a really good workout for us. I'm really pleased with the full pre-season."
Heath wasn't afraid to experiment with formations as he seeks the best combinations for the upcoming campaign.
He added: "We played two formations again. In the second-half we always knew we were going to be stretched but when we played 3-5-2 in the first-half we contained them really well and gave as good as we got.
"In the second-half, when we went to 4-3-3, it was always going to cause us problems against this opposition, but the whole squad in pre-season have been absolutely fantastic, including the trialists that have come in. Everyone's attitude has been spot on."