Carl McHugh has no intention of being a bit-part player for City.
The teenage defender’s one-year deal slipped under the radar last week in the light of Zavon Hines being announced at the same time.
But Phil Parkinson expects the 19-year-old Irishman to make his mark at Valley Parade .
He said: “Carl is champing at the bit to play. He’s a really committed character.
“We’ve got to work with him and improve him in many aspects but he’s got so many good qualities.
“He’s a tough lad with a great left foot and he’s going to be a good defender.”
Parkinson’s strong links with Reading were instrumental in bringing McHugh north and City took him on the Ireland tour last month. The contract was delayed after he suffered a knock in training.
But McHugh’s performance for the reserves in last week’s behind-closed-doors game at Leeds convinced the club he was worth a deal.
Parkinson added: “I’ve always liked the look of him. He played centre back against Wexford but then got a slight injury.
“I just wanted to look at him at left back against Leeds and he did everything in that game that we thought he could do. We needed someone else in the squad who can play that position.”
McHugh’s ability to play left back as well as in the middle will offer valuable cover to James Meredith. After the issues with the position last season, Parkinson is pleased to have two defenders playing there on their natural side.
“It’s getting the balance of the team right which is so important,” said Parkinson.
“We had Marcel (Seip) playing there a lot last year and he did a very good job for us. But at times, especially at home, he killed the fluidity of our play by having to check inside on his right.
“Ideally you want a natural left footer there and we’ve now got two of them in James and Carl.”