In-form Cherries under-18s face Oxford United away on Saturday in what manager Connell described as a “tough game away from home”.
His youth side go into this weekend’s fixture on the back end of a 5-0 win over Bristol Rovers in the EFL Youth Alliance cup on Tuesday.
Speaking ahead of the game boss Connell said: “They’re always very difficult opponents so we know it’s going to be a tough game away from home, bringing its own challenges.
“We fully respect them, and it’ll be a really good challenge for the boys and it’s a game that we are looking forward to.
“We’ve played Oxford over the years, last season we’ve had some really good games against them in the league and in the FA Youth Cup.
The academy side currently sit second in the league after a convincing start to the campaign, but Connell believes there’s still more to come by saying:
“I think we’re heading in the right direction, one of the messages I always give the boys is that they’ve got to keep their feet on the ground.
“We still need to make huge improvements in every area. Ultimately, it’s about improving individuals and there’s signs we’re heading in the right direction.
“We’re nowhere near where we need to be at yet. It’s a work in progress, there are challenges ahead we need to embrace, I’m sure with the boys they’ll continue to show the right attitude.”
Striker Christian Saydee has been in-form at the start of the season already scoring eight goals in just eight games.
Connell spoke highly of the attacking player, saying: “He’s an intelligent boy and he’s got ability and can score goals so he’s got a lot of attributes.
“He knows himself that there’s lots to improve on and with his attitude I’m sure he will head in the right direction.
“Christian is an important part of our team because he’s a bit like a figure head up front for us because of his quality and his character, he’s a leader within the group.”