Preston North End youngster Jack Ryan is hoping he can go on to take centre stage after making his debut during the 4-2 victory over Colchester on Saturday.
Ryan, 18 was has been at Deepdale for several seasons and was in the second year of his apprenticeship this time last year.
Yet the youngster, who until recently had caught the eye with four goals in five games on-loan at Conference North side Stockport County, stepped in to replace Joe Garner up front for the final few minutes as Preston approached a third successive victory.
And with a number of senior forwards on the treatment table he could be in line for more action when North End host Port Vale in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy second round tonight at Deepdale (7.45pm).
With a place on the bench looking like the least he can expect, Ryan told the Lancashire Evening Post of his delight at finally making his Preston bow and insisted that he is ready to take any opportunity afforded to him.
“Any time on the pitch is valuable – a minute is a minute and an hour is an hour,” Ryan said.
“I’m just pleased that the gaffer game me a chance to show what I can do and now I’ve got my first-team debut under my belt.
“I wasn’t nervous when I came on against Colchester – I was just excited for the moment.
“There is another game tonight so hopefully I will get another run at some stage.”
“Stockport was a very good experience, getting games at a senior level.
“It was a lot different than playing in the reserves or the youth team.
“My couple of months there taught me a lot. I got a few goals and my confidence is sky high.
“I scored four goals in my last five games there and then I’ve got one here in a reserve game since coming back.
“The Conference North is a physical league – there is not a lot of passing football played. I had a taste of it last season at Stalybridge, which was down at the other end of the table.
“They managed to stay up and it was nice to play a part in that. If I am to go out on loan again, hopefully I can go a division or two higher.
“To play in the Conference Premier or League Two would be a good experience.”
Ryan who hails from Barrow, joined North End as an under-16 schoolboy after being released by Blackburn and progressed through his apprenticeship to sign a professional contract in July.
He added: “I’ve been at Preston since the Under-16s. I was at Blackburn before that but Preston gave me the opportunity to come here. I had two years as an apprentice and then got a pro deal in the summer.
“Over the last year or so I have developed a lot as a player. I base my game on holding the ball up against defenders, then getting down the channels and into goalscoring positions.
“When I was on loan with Stockport I was still training with Preston for part of the week. I would train Monday and Friday at Preston and then on a Tuesday and Thursday night with Stockport.
“Even on Tuesdays and Thursdays I would pop in at the training ground here to show my face.
“I have learned a lot training with the first-team squad here. It is good to work with Joe Garner and Kevin Davies, to see how they finish and make runs.
“Also, it is a good test when you are playing against experienced defenders in training.”