Barry Quin’s belief in Watford’s Under-21 side never wavered, even when the team were 2-0 behind against Gillingham. His faith was rewarded and, after the Hornets’ 3-2 Under-21 Premier League Cup victory, he said: “Coaching these lads keeps my alive.”

Quin, who is the club’s head of coaching, has been working with the Golden Boys’ youth team and coaching the Under-21s since Dave Hughes departure in August.

However, newly appointed lead professional development coach David Horseman is to take over control of the Watford scholars and Under-21 side next Monday.

Quin will work alongside Horseman for a transitional period and admits he has enjoyed coaching the Hornets’ youngsters.

He said: “I thought I had seen these days off so it has almost been like coming out of retirement. I’ve really enjoyed it though and there has been some good banter between myself and the players - I’ve got plenty of stick for my few grey hairs.

“Coaching these lads keeps me alive and working with different people keeps the players on their toes.”

Watford’s side against Gillingham on Tuesday night featured a number of senior professionals including the likes of Tommie Hoban, Sean Murray and influential midfielder Almen Abdi, who was continuing his return from a shoulder injury.

Abdi played 60 minutes and Quin confirmed the Swiss international had come through the contest unscathed.

The Hornets trailed Gillingham by two goals but turned the game around in ten second half minutes.

Alex Jakubiak struck twice in quick succession and then a stunning 30-yard strike from Michael Folivi booked Watford’s place in the last 16 of the competition.

"To be honest, with the character and talent in the dressing room, I thought we had a lot of work to do at 2-0 behind,” Quin explained. “I didn’t ever think we were out of the game. The character of the side was brilliant.”

He added: “The younger players love this competition. They love the atmosphere, playing at the stadiums and playing alongside senior pros.

“By the end of the game though our team had all come through the Academy. So things are going right and the younger lads are working and learning from the senior players.”

Folivi's goal was his 21st of the season for both the Under-18s and Under-21s, although Quin says the forward would dispute that number. 

“He thinks it is 22," Quin said with a smile. "I have known him for years, since Under-14 level. He has always had the ability but just needed the strength and robustness.

“He has that now, although I don’t think he is ready for 90 minutes at this level (Under-21s). He certainly is for the youth team.

“We are pleased with his development and he is going in the right direction.”