DAVID MIRFIN is not the best 18-year-old defender in the Nationwide League.
The claim was made by manager Peter Jackson in the build-up to Tuesday's tremendous 1-0 victory against Northampton at Sixfields.
Only one problem.
Mirfin was 19 last Sunday and never told anyone!
It means his goal last weekend against Scunthorpe was a very welcome birthday present and that he now does battle in a slightly older age group for any plaudits flying around.
When Mirfin is mentioned, there are plenty, and he has been in the Nationwide Third Division team of the week for the past fortnight.
He is a strapping build - ideal for a centre-back - and is not short of pace despite his bulk.
His tackling is so strong that Southend's loan man Carl Pettefer is now nursing a broken leg while, in the air, Mirfin is no slouch either.
It all adds up to a powerful suggestion that Mirfin can become a first-team regular with Town after enjoying his chances this term.
"It's been fantastic and to think that myself, Andy Holdsworth, Anthony Lloyd and John McAliskey could become promotion winners in our first full seasons is just unbelievable," said Mirfin, from the red half of Sheffield.
"I think I speak for all of us younger lads when I say that we couldn't wish to have better experienced professionals around us than we've got at this club.
"They are tremendous on the training ground - I don't think there is a single member of the squad who doesn't look forward to coming in to work every day - and during matches they keep us going as well.
"Efe Sodje and Steve Yates have been a big help since I came into the side for Nathan Clarke and this has become a good run in the team for me.
"The gaffer has also made some nice comments about me and had little words here and there, but the main thing he has done is to tell me to enjoy it.
"His philosophy is that if you are not enjoying what you are doing, you are not likely to play too well because you will feel under pressure.
"He wants us to play without any pressure and, from my own point of view, it's the best advice he could have given me.
"With my age and inexperience it's good to just go out on the pitch looking forward to playing, and it seems to be paying off because the season we are having is just brilliant."
While he is focused on the job in hand, Mirfin has been amazed by the level of backing Town have received in recent matches.
"My confidence is really high at the moment and there's just the one niggling disappointment about Kidderminster, where I didn't have a good game and we lost," he said.
"I think there were a few doubts after that result about whether we could stay the distance, but we ground out a great result against Scunthorpe with that late comeback and then went to Northampton to grab a great win for the club.
"In the last half hour on Tuesday night we were having to defend for our lives as Northampton came at us with everything they'd got, but we stuck to our guns and looked dangerous on the break.
"The atmosphere at the McAlpine last weekend was just incredible, especially towards the end when Macca was getting his goals, and then to see so many down at Sixfields gave us a real lift.
"The support they gave us helped keep us going and with the help of some brilliant saves from Paul Rachubka we were able to keep another clean sheet.
"It was a massive win for us and now it's all set up for these final few matches when we are looking at Hull and Doncaster above us, not the teams behind."
Mirfin - selected in the Division III Team of the Week for his performances against Southend and Scunthorpe - has made 14 starts and six substitute appearances this season.
His most memorable contribution, of course, came as an emergency striker at York where he made one goal and scored another in a sensational 2-0 win.
He had another go at playing striker last Saturday, too, as Jackson tinkered with his formation and personnel to try and turn around the Scunthorpe match.
He was slotted straight back into defence the moment Efe Sodje received his red card, but it is comforting to know Mirfin's pace and power can be used up front when the need arises.