Simon Clark is hoping his side have learned the lessons from their opening-day defeat against Lincoln City as they travel to face the Imps in the Youth Alliance cup today (11am).
The young Magpies were beaten 4-0 by the Imps in their first EFL Youth Alliance fixture of the 2017-18 season but the lead professional development phase coach believes the improvements in his side since that game will see a better outcome this time around.
"We were well beaten but I think we have progressed substantially since then so it will be interesting to see how we fare," he said. "We'll have some players available who weren't available that day but we'll also have some under 16s playing, as well as five or six first-year scholars.
"Lincoln won't change much and will expect to beat us so it will be a strong mental test for us.
"But we go into every game with a plan to win and must be positive."
Clark has been frustrated by his side's inability to put together a performance over 90 minutes and wants to see the players stick to their principles by not straying away from what they are coached to do through the week.
"I can't go on the pitch," he said. "The players must be brave and take responsibility.
"They can make mistakes in the right way by trying to do the right thing. If you learn from it and grow, you'll be fine."
In addition to tactical discipline, the former Peterborough man wants to see more leadership within his team when things are not going their way.
"We had one or two players who went missing when the going got tough against Mansfield," he admitted.
"We have a lot of first-year scholars and some under 16s so it's not easy for them to have the confidence to shout at some of the older players.
"But I've given them licence to get hold of people in the right way and tell them what to do because that's what's expected of you when you go to the first team.
"They have to understand things do not always go smoothly in games but it's what you do when you're under pressure that defines you."
Clark will be without Jordon Richards for the game as the defender has joined Daventry Town on a work experience loan.