JACOB GILES got the Christmas present he could only dream of.
It was a telephone call on Christmas morning from manager Peter Jackson to tell the 18-year-old he would be on the bench for the first team at Darlington.
With only 24 hours to soak up the news, the blond-haired Academy goalkeeper took it all in his stride.
And, while there were a few nerves, he was delighted to be among the substitutes against Bury at the McAlpine as well.
As over 16,000 people watched the two matches, it was a massive change for Giles, who regularly plays in front of a few dozen in the FA Academy Premier League up at Emley, where Town stage their Under 19 games.
"It was a good Christmas present and, apart from odd nerves, it has been a great experience," said Giles, who has been playing for the Reserves this season.
"Just being around the first-team squad has been superb but, if I get my chance to go on in a match, I'll be fine."
Giles - who, like Andy Booth, went to Salendine Nook High School - got his opportunity because Town's stand-in physio, Dave Buckby, was unavailable over the holiday.
It meant Lee Martin having to revert to his normal physio duties rather than deputising for Phil Senior, and Giles was happy to step up for the first time.
"I've been with the club for six years, since the Under 12 side, and when I left school I took up a scholarship with them," he explained.
"I have played in the Under 19s and Reserves, but it's a whole lot different when it comes to the first team.
"Up at Darlington, the support we took with us was fantastic and it was brilliant to win the game for them, especially with the way things had been going away from home and everyone talking about the black kit.
"If I've been a lucky charm then great; they'll have to take me again!
"At the McAlpine, the atmosphere is always good and, having got six points from the two matches, everyone is buzzing. From my point of view, I just want to stay involved if possible and, if I get the chance to go on, I'll be happy enough. You've just got to deal with any nerves you might have and concentrate on doing your best in the game."
Giles, who also gained some experience earlier in the season from the club's FA Youth Cup run - he was a penalty shoot-out hero against Grimsby at the McAlpine - is the fourth keeper to be named by Jackson this season.
Ian Gray, of course, was the No1 choice until he suffered a broken finger and two dislocated ones in the FA Cup defeat by Accrington Stanley.
Phil Senior was on the bench for the first 22 fixtures of the campaign until getting his chance, and he has now started seven League games on the trot.
Martin was on the bench for the first five of those but Giles has been promoted to cover since the ex-Leeds Road junior, who also has a slight Achilles niggle, returned to his physio duties.