A learning curve! Sunderland youngster Tom McNamee backed to improve on his Boston United debut

Tom McNamee.
Tom McNamee.

Debutant Tom McNamee will become a better player after taking his Boston United bow, says manager Dennis Greene.

With Carl Piergianni ruled out of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Harrogate due to illness, the on-loan Sunderland under 21 prospect was given a baptism of fire, thrown into the heart of defence to partner Zak Mills.

Replacing Piergianni, who was missing just his fifth match in 80 competitive contests since joining the club last summer, was never going to be an easy task for any player.

But being asked to do so in bizarre circumstances - on a freezing, snow-covered Wetherby Road pitch - was a tough way to make the step-up to senior foorball.

“Hopefully, it’ll be a big learning curve for him,” said Greene of the 20-year-old, who was replaced by Michael Hollingsworth at half time.

“He’s come from under 21s to first team football and next week’s another week.

“His decision making was a little bit out, but I’m sure he’ll rectify that and come back stronger.”

McNamee (pictured), who has linked up with Boston on a youth loan deal, has been with the Black Cats since under 14s level and has also shown promise as a rugby player, having previously been part of the Newcastle Falcons’ development centre.

Fellow Sunderland youngster Joel Dixon returned to the Pilgrims squad on Saturday after agreeing to re-join the club on a further month-long loan spell.

Dixon has now made 15 appearances for Boston this season.

The duo are the latest Black Cats youngsters to gain valuable first-team experience with Boston United.

David Ferguson, Liam Agnew and Liam Marrs - who has since joined the club permanently - have also had spells at the Jakemans Stadium.