Our Under-19 midfielder, 18 last August, played eight times for the reserves last season and has impressed already in that level again this time around.
Capped at Under-18 level for England again this season, Jackson takes heart from Thelwell’s rise through the youth ranks, reserves and finally onto the Premiership stage when he starred against Liverpool last Sunday.
Jackson said: “It was great to see Alton playing because he’s only a little older than me so you look at that and think if he can be there then hopefully, in maybe a year’s time, I can be there too.
“Maybe towards the end of the season I might get a look in on the bench, that would be nice, but obviously I’m not expecting that - you can’t guarantee that with all the quality here. It would be nice though.
“I would love to be playing in the first team but I’ve got to become a regular in the reserves first. I’m not there yet.”
So in the meantime Jackson will concentrate on breaking into Chris Hughton’s reserve team more regularly — he came off the bench for Sol Campbell to play the final 25 minutes of Tuesday’s win at Nottingham Forest.
He added: “My target is to get on the bench regularly which I’m doing now but I want to start regularly because then the manager might see you and you can get a chance from there.
“It’s been a good season so far and the internationals have helped that. Playing for England Under-18s has been a great experience, playing against other international teams and good, quality football. It’s a good standard and that has helped me become a better player.”
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Johnnie Jackson is one of the crop of youngsters at the club hoping to follow in Alton Thelwell’s footsteps.