DANNY Devine reckons he can be a trailblazer for other youngsters hoping to come through the Valley Parade ranks.

The midfielder’s new three-year deal this week follows similar long-term tie-ups with Ellis Hudson and Reece Webb-Foster.

Devine thinks that is a clear sign City are prepared to put their faith in youth more. He said: “It’s important because the youth team players can see they’ve got a chance with me, Ellis and Reece.

“They aren’t just playing to the end of the season and then not getting anything. They’ve got a realistic chance of being offered a contract.

“They’ll be looking at me and saying ‘they can do what I’ve done’. It will give them belief to push on and show the gaffer what they can do.”

Devine was only given his first pro deal in the summer and the new contract committing him to the club until June 2019 came out of the blue.

“I didn’t expect this come October,” he added. “I thought I’d be fighting for a contract at the end of the season.

“I’ve never been in this situation before of not having that pressure of thinking I’m playing to earn a new contract.

“If I get back into the team now, I can play freely and express myself. I can just focus on my game.”

Devine admits he is still a rookie with much to learn and credits Stuart McCall for aiding that process.

“The gaffer gives me a lot of advice and I believe I’ve benefited from that. It’s lifted the pressure off me.

“He’s always helping me before and after games and in training. He takes me to one side.

“I think I’ve dealt with it quite well and with him playing in the same position is only a bonus. He can give me a few pointers to weaknesses in my game.”

Devine started the first eight games of the season but has made only one full appearance since in the Checkatrade Trophy against Bury ten days ago.

He came on as a late sub against Shrewsbury and is expecting another bench role at Oxford tomorrow as City look to extend their 12-match unbeaten run.

The 19-year-old said: “There are a lot of very good lads here and competition is high.

“You can’t complain right now because we are second in the league and playing well. It’s the same for others who can’t get in the team.”

Meanwhile, Webb-Foster is set to make his debut for Harrogate Town tomorrow at the start of a three-month loan spell.