YOUNGSTER Cian Harris says the Academy players are ‘buzzing’ after being given a chance to shine in the first team following the club’s slide away from the League One play-offs.
Manager Tony Mowbray has given striker George Thomas precious game time, while Dion Kelly-Evans and Harris himself were handed their debuts for the 2-0 victory over Oldham Athletic on Sunday.
Harris was a surprise selection ahead of the injured Aaron Martin and the Wales Under-21 international was delighted to see all of his hard work this season pay off at the end.
“I’m really happy to make my full first debut,” said Harris. “To start, win and get a clean sheet was a great way to end the season.
“I only found out I was starting an hour and a half prior to kick-off. Claps [Jamie Clapham] told me Aaron wasn’t fit and that I’d be playing in his place. I was buzzing.
“When we were doing the handshakes before the game I got a few butterflies, but I don’t tend to get nervous. Once the game had started, Bigi (Gael Bigirimana) rolled it back to me within the first five seconds so that calmed me.
“Whenever an Academy boy gets a chance in the first team, it’s motivation for us all. Everyone loves it. Dion has been here since he was six. Buzzing to see what we’ve all been working hard toward come off. We all want each other to be successful.
“The thing that has been stressed to me the most has been improving my defending, which I think has developed over the past few months.
“My heading has come along nicely, I feel stronger in the gym and around the pitch, to get a clean sheet as well – I couldn’t have asked for a better debut.”