Jordan Storey freely admits that his first season with Preston North End has far surpassed his expectations.
The promising defender arrived from Exeter in the summer having played just 17 games for the League Two Grecians.
Prior to that, Storey had begun last season by getting senior first-team experience out on loan at Dorchester Town in the seventh tier.
But the 21-year-old has made to the jump up the Championship with relative ease at Deepdale.
He has started every game of PNE’s seven-match unbeaten run, six of those alongside Ben Davies, who is just 23 himself.
“For me it’s just about building game-by-game,” said Storey.
“We’ve got 13 games left and if I can play three-quarters of them between now and the end of the season then it’s a great achievement for me.
“It’s a great achievement for me anyway to hit the ground running like this.
“When I arrived I thought if I could just play a few games in the cup and maybe a few times in the league then that would be a good start.
“I didn’t play that many games in League Two so I’d accepted that I wasn’t going to maybe play that much here at the start.
“But it proves that if you perform well and take your chance then the sky’s the limit.”
The Davies-Storey partnership has been a feature of North End’s upturn in fortunes since the turn of the year.
The pair have played beyond their years as PNE have moved up to 11th in the Championship table, ahead of the trip to face Millwall this Saturday.
“We’re still learning each other’s games,” said Storey, who has made 19 appearances for the Lilywhites in league cup.
“To play with someone like him you always feel assured. You know he’s going to do his job and you’ve just got to do your job.
“I think we’ve worked really well together and as the season progresses we’ll just grow and grow.”
Declan Rudd is another man who has been in fine fettle in 2019, saving a penalty against former club Norwich last week.
The goalkeeper has the perfect view of the two rising defensive stars and has dubbed Davies a ‘Rolls Royce’ and Storey ‘the Exeter Rio Ferdinand’.
“I’ll take that all day,” Storey said with a smile. “He’s been great recently though and it’s always nice to have someone like that behind you shouting encouragement.
“He’s an experienced head and has pulled off some great saves when we’ve needed him.”