Mark Hughes hopes that his pre-season displays will stand him in good stead when it comes to first team involvement this season.
The early signs are promising for the midfielder, who was added to the squad for the trip to Newcastle on Saturday before heading off on loan to Northampton to top up his playing time for a month at Sixfields.
His pre-season experience saw him feature in a number of games as a substitute before he started the games against Partizan Belgrade in Seville and the trip to Glasgow to face his boyhood favourites Celtic.
"I have followed Celtic nearly all my life, although they are not my favourite team now," reflected the Northern Ireland under-21 international. "It is a great stadium, the fans are class and it was a good experience for me.
"I thought we had a few chances against them, but they had more possession than us. It was tough for one striker up front, but we could have got a goal or two. They didn't often get behind us and we could definitely have got something out of the game."
Mark reasons that he could not have hoped for much more where his involvement in pre-season was concerned and the management team offered him encouragement following the Seville trip.
"I would definitely have taken it. It has been a good pre-season for me and I started a couple of games as well - I happy with it.
"I am feeling good and I hope to stay where I am - being round the first team and training with them every day. If I get a chance I hope to take it and see where things go from there.
"After Seville they said I played good and they are happy with the way it's going. I think my fitness can get better and I will keep training away. I definitely want to push on and play in the first team this year."