The young defender has been involved at first team level for the last couple of months and found himself on the bench seven times but is still agonisingly waiting for his senior debut.
Thelwell said: “I’ve been sitting on that bench a few times recently. It’s good for me really. The first team haven’t been doing that well and I’ve got my chance through injuries to sit on the bench and if I’m called upon I’ll do my best.”
George Graham has been impressed with the 20-year-old and there has been more than one pre-match hint from the manager that he might be involved but as yet those hints have not turned into reality.
And Thelwell is bound to come into the reckoning again with Ben Thatcher suspended for Sunday’s visit of Liverpool — not least with Mauricio Taricco and Sol Campbell still recovering from injuries.
“I didn’t even know that Ben was out on Sunday,” he admitted. “That’s another player gone. We’ll just have to wait and see.
“I’ll just keep playing for the reserves, maintain my match fitness and if I get my chance we’ll see how it goes. Obviously I would love to play for the first team and there may be a chance somewhere. You never know.”
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Alton Thelwell is so close to the Premiership he can taste it.