Manager Grant McCann says teenage Irish defender Shane Blaney is really starting to kick on and is knocking on the first team door.
The 19-year-old recently spent time on loan at Tamworth and Grantham Town, and started the Checkatrade Trophy games against Grimsby Town and Notts County.
With Joe Wright unavailable due to injury, McCann believes Blaney is ready to do a job for the first-team when required.
He said: "Shane's improving all the time. I think his time away on loan has really helped him a lot to be ready for first team football.
"It's really toughened him up, he looks aggressive, he looks a lot stronger and like he's on the front foot. With me being a centre half down following the injury to Joe Wright, he's now going to be involved with the squad that will give him a lot of confidence."
Blaney completed a move from Finn Harps earlier in 2018, and McCann - who moved from Belfast to London to join West Ham United when he was 16, has been impressed with how quickly the younger has settled.
He added: "It can be difficult to move away from your family to a new country, it can take time to settle down and adjust to living on your own, but he's definitely getting there.
"He's the third-choice centre back at the minute and he's really kicking on."