Luke O'Brien has thanked Paul Heckingbottom for helping him become a City first-teamer.

O'Brien, who turns 20 in September, made his league debut at Brentford when he understudied for the regular left back.

An ankle injury cost Heckingbottom his ever-present run in League Two but the rookie replacement did not let anyone down, capping a solid performance with a vital clearance off the line to keep out Nathan Elder's header.

Halifax-born O'Brien, who played his first game against Tranmere in the FA Cup in December, admits he has learned a lot from training alongside his defensive rival.

"Hecky is a quality player with great experience and he always tells me whether I'm doing things right or not," he said. "That is good for me because I'm looking to learn.

"It felt very special to make my league debut. Obviously I had the game against Tranmere earlier in the season and was due to play the week after against Rotherham when Hecky was injured but unfortunately it got called off.

"The gaffer then brought Hecky back in because of his experience, which I fully understand.

"I was nervous before the beginning of the Brentford match, as you'd expect, but when it started I felt fine. I thought it went pretty well and clearing the one off the line was definitely a highlight - I'll have to ask the gaffer for a copy of the video to keep."

O'Brien has worked his way through the age groups and joked: "I've been here since I was eight so it should be my testimonial soon!

"I had a season-ticket from under-ten to under-16 and would come to every game at Valley Parade. Like every lad, I used to dream about what it would be like to be out on that pitch.

"To actually be part of the team and play alongside people like Skip (David Wetherall) and Mark Bower is brilliant and I really enjoyed it. My contract is up in a couple of months and hopefully things will work out."

  • Former City striker Andy Cooke has left home-town club Shrewsbury by mutual consent.

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