Forest's development side beat Barnsley 3-2 last night with eight members of the under-18's squad in their team, and Gilligan believes it was an example of the quality that they have in their ranks.
The youth team manager says that Forest currently have a number of fine prospects breaking through and he expects them to play first-team roles in the near future, due to the club's struggles to comply with Financial Fair Play.
“I think it’s fantastic, the academy is the lifeblood of a football club and with the way we are in the Financial Fair Play system, to have a solid group of young players coming through who have a desire to work keeps the club in good stead."
As Forest are so restricted in the transfer window, it will be crucial for the side to ensure that they are able to produce their own talent.
The Reds cannot spend big on players to enhance their first-team squad so Dougie Freedman is likely to be forced into testing out some of the prospects in his ranks next term.
That may not be a bad thing, though. Forest's under-21 side have recently won their league and that is an indication of the talent that is emerging at the City Ground.
Forest have already seen the likes of Ben Osborn, Tyler Walker, Oliver Burke and Jorge Grant given first-team opportunities this year and it seems that more youngsters could follow their lead in the near future.