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Academy First Year Jamie Davis is seizing his opportunity to sample football at reserve team level.

Academy First Year Jamie Davis is seizing his opportunity to sample football at reserve team level.

The diminutive right sided midfielder has started five out of our last six reserve encounters - replacing Dean Marney after an hour of Monday's win over Portsmouth at Stevenage in what turned out to be a 12th win in 13 outings for Clive Allen's side.

His run in the reserves has provided a timely tonic for the 17-year-old, whose introduction to full-time football at the Club was hampered by a persistent back injury.

"I am happy at the moment," said the quietly-spoken Jamie. "At the start of the season I was injured and didn't think I would get the chance, but I have now and hopefully I will keep taking them."

The comparison to last season is marked, just two First Year players were awarded starts for the reserves - Leigh Mills and Chris Riley - and managed four full appearances between them.

This time around, Jamie, Joe Martin and Alex Smith have started games, with Radwan Hamed, Cian Hughton, Greg Lake and David Button being part of the 16 on duty.

"I didn't think I would get in this season because not many got the opportunity last season," added Jamie. "I am pleased with the way it is going and think we are doing well.

"It is physically demanding because I am small and not particularly strong either," he added. "If I come up against a big player I try to beat them with my pace, I am working on my strength, but I haven't got a physical presence.

"If it comes to a 50-50 at the moment I think I would be knocked flying."

Of course, the above mentioned players are also on duty for Pat Holland's under-18 side on Saturday, but are not complaining over the added work load.

"Playing on a Saturday and Monday is hard, but we cope with it. I enjoy the reserve football, obviously. I like under-18 football but if I want to get anywhere I must do well in the reserves.

"I wouldn't say it is easier, but with the reserves you are playing with and against men rather than people your own age. You don't have to use as much strength and the reserves is more tiring, but very enjoyable."