MICHAEL COLLINS is making superb progress this season, but he's certainly not getting carried away.
The 18-year-old from Halifax has impressed at Reserve level with Town, captained the Republic of Ireland Under 19s and been included in Peter Jackson's first-team squad.
The talented midfield playmaker realises, however, there's a lot of hard work ahead and he's happy to keep taking steady steps on a highly-promising career-learning curve.
"It has been great to step up and be involved with the first team, it's a nice progression for me and it's good to test yourself against better players," said Collins, who almost lost his Academy place as a youngster because he was so small and frail!
"It's given me a real boost as well to hear that the manager has had some nice things to say about how I'm doing.
"As a young player, it's great to know you are in the manager's thoughts, so I'm just going to keep working hard and, hopefully, I will get a chance at some stage. To be honest, it is still just my aim to play in the Reserves and to keep playing well.
"That's what I wanted at the start of the season - to earn a regular Reserve place and put in some performances that people would take note of.
"Obviously it is going well and the manager has involved me with the first team a few times, which is like a real bonus, but I just want to keep doing well and take whatever comes after that."
Collins has played at Under 18 and Under 19 level for the Republic and recently captained the elder age group to victory in Italy.
"It was a real honour to lead out an international side and my grandma, who is Irish, was really proud," explained Collins.
"We beat them 2-0, which was great for me as captain, and it's just brilliant to be involved at any level and play alongside players from bigger clubs.
"Gerry Murphy has always encouraged me and hopefully I will be able to move up, although I would expect it to be mainly next year before there's any consideration of the Under 21s.
Collins is an admirer of Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, but he has also drawn inspiration from closer to home.
"Gerrard's all-round game is different class and he's the one I love to watch in the Premiership," he said.
"The lads who have come through the youth teams and Academy here, though, have done really well and I always look to learn from them.
"Just being around people like Jon Worthington and Nathan Clarke on the training ground, you learn an awful lot to improve your game.
"Everyone at the club has been a big help, especially all the Academy staff.
"When I was younger I was very small and I think they were a bit unsure whether to take a chance on me.
"They always kept encouraging me to play, though, even when I kept getting knocked off the ball. They kept pushing me and helping me and every single one of them has been superb to me."
Collins has a simple description of his game - "I like to get on the ball and keep things ticking" - and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him doing it at League I level before May.
"If that happened it would be the biggest bonus of all," he smiled.