"It's a big step up"
Manager Nigel Adkins is excited about the talented young players being introduced into his squad - but admits they will need the full support and patience of the staff, senior players and fans.
The average age of the squad that travelled to Champneys last week was just 22, with a number of Academy players given the chance to impress.
Adkins told local press this week, "We've promoted nine under 21s into the first team group and they're doing ever so well. They've shown a great attitude, ambition and ability.
"But it's a big step up, so it's important we don't put too much pressure on them. It's everyone's responsibility to help them.
"We have a young group of players and we have to be protective of them. I'd like to think I've worked with players who have gone on to do very well, but when they've been brought into the team we've looked after them.
"They've not been thrown in and played loads of games, they need to be nurtured. I know the supporters will be right behind them and behind the team.
"And even though we've got an average age of 22, the senior players have come through the system so there's an affinity with the club, a heart and soul. We all want to do well, which will take us a long way."
The manager anticipates an exciting time with young players in and around the squad, saying, "We've got to enjoy the ride and I'd like to think the supporters will see a young group who will go out and do all they can to play attractive winning football. I know the supporters will give them every opportunity to do that.
"The young players have noticed a step up in training with the first team. Now we've got to make sure we look after them, and give them a platform to flourish.
"Reading Football Club is an excellent club and we're all doing all we can to make sure it's an excellent season for everybody."