SIXTEEN months is a long time to wait for any footballer to get a second chance.
That's why big John McCombe is determined to make the most of his with Town.
The 19-year-old defender made his first senior start in Tuesday's LDV Vans Trophy victory against Morecambe at the Galpharm Stadium.
His only previous appearance was as a substitute against Oldham Athletic on May 3, 2003, when Mel Machin was picking the side following Mick Wadsworth's departure and Town's relegation to the bottom division had already been confirmed.
He played only a couple of minutes in that match, which also marked the debut of Academy colleague David Mirfin.
While Mirfin has progressed quickly to become a first-team regular, McCombe - whose brother Jamie plays for Lincoln City - has had to be more patient.
He is the latest youth product to underline the strength of Town's Academy, however, and would love to have more opportunities in Peter Jackson's senior set-up.
"I thoroughly enjoyed myself on Tuesday night and I thought I did all right," said McCombe, who earned glowing praise from his manager.
"You can't do much better than help keep a clean sheet in a three-goal win and I was really happy about how things went.
"I thought it might become a bit of a problem when we went down to 10 men because of Danny Schofield's sending off, but we took a grip again and Morecambe didn't really pose us any threat towards the end.
"It felt good to be out there playing a first-team game, but I've played a lot alongside Nathan Clarke and David Mirfin in the Academy and that meant we had a good understanding at the back.
"Mirf is a very good defender, winning his tackles and headers and being strong, while Clarkey is great at sweeping up and had a very good game again.
"I was pleased to be a part of it and, having had a chance, I'm now hoping it can be the first of many."
McCombe has been with Town for eight years, being spotted originally playing for St Winifred's Catholic High School in Pontefract. He also played for South Elmsall Boys and Wakefield Boys before coming through Town's age-group ranks.
Having missed much of last season through injury, he's now back to full fitness and feels he is ready to play a part in Coca-Cola League I when needed.
If that means against Walsall at the Galpharm on Saturday, so much the better.
"Playing in the first team is what I've been working for the whole time and I'm confident I can make the step up," he explained.
"It is tougher in the first team, there's no doubt about it, but it's as much a mental thing as anything else.
"Concentration is vital and I've set my stall out this time to improve my concentration.
"Playing more games can only help in that and I should get more edge to my game with experience."
McCombe revealed a few words from Jackson had helped him focus on Tuesday's tie.
"He told me on Monday morning that I'd be playing and included me in the build-up work we didn't," said McCombe.
"I was a bit nervous, but that probably helped me concentrate on the job in hand, and the gaffer gave me a lot of confidence by telling me that if I wasn't good enough, he wouldn't be picking me.
"That meant a lot to me and he just told me to go out, play my normal game and enjoy myself.
"More than anything, he wanted me to be confident, and that helped a lot."
TOWN'S youth team have their first home match of the FA Academy Premier League season on Saturday.
It's against Sheffield United at Storthes Hall and kicks off at 11am, plenty of time for supporters to get down to the Galpharm and cheer on the first team against Walsall.
Extra support would be welcomed by the Academy, who are playing at Under 18 level this season.
Town's Reserve game at Halifax has been brought forward and will now be played on Monday, December 13, at The Shay (2.00).