Hayden Mullins says playing alongside a senior pro in Miguel Britos is a valuable experience for his Watford Under-23 players.

The centre-back played the first half as the young Hornets went down to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Charlton Athletic.

While Britos couldn’t inspire Mullins’ men to a victory, the Under-23 boss believes the Uruguayan’s presence alone will have rubbed off on his players.

Mullins told the club website: “Miguel wanted to get some minutes and it was good for our lads to play with a first-team player.”

The Watford squad boasted a number of returning players and the likes of Michael Folivi and the fit-again Randell Williams were released from their loan club’s in order to get minutes under their belts.

Folivi provided the pass which allowed Dennon Lewis to win a penalty and score Watford’s early opener and Mullins was pleased with both his and Williams’ impact.

“It’s good to see Mike back with us and he’s come back with an assist, which is brilliant,” he said.

“We got him back from Boreham Wood because they didn’t have game on the weekend and they asked if we could give him some minutes.

“Randell’s been out for a long time with an injury and this was his first 60-odd minutes. He’ll go back to Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was good to see some of the boys back.”

Once again Mullins took the chance to name some of the club’s most promising teenage stars in his side as Lewis Gordon impressed at left-back.

The 17-year-old, Mullins argues, has all the qualities required to transfer promising displays at Under-23 level into the senior game and forge a successful career.

“I thought Lewis Gordon was really good,” Mullins said. “For a 17-year-old, Lewis handled the big pitch, a good side and a good player up against him.

“He looked really good and he looks like a player with a good future ahead of him.”

Ryan Cassidy is another teenage talent who has impressed for the Hornets’ youth set up and was given another, if all be it brief, taste of Under-23 football.

The striker came on as a substitute and went close to scoring after being picked out by Williams, and Mullins says the chance is further evidence of his development.

“Ryan came on and was unlucky not to score,” he said. “When it dropped to him in the box, we thought ‘goal’.”

“It wasn’t to be tonight and the pleasing thing is he’s getting in the right place at the right time.”