TOM Ward says that experience is the key to him fulfilling his potential.
But the 21-year-old - who made the step up from Boston United’s reserves to the Blue Square Bet North this season - will have to wait for more of that to come as he looks to be sidelined for a number of weeks with an ankle injury.
Soft tissue damage sustained blocking the ball on Saturday has left his progress sidelined.
Although admitting he is far from the finished article, the centre back has been relishing his time on the field.
And he believes it is a combination of his experienced teammates as well as match experience that can help him progress.
He said: “To be honest, I feel a lot more confident each week I play.
“The people I’ve got around me make sure I learn something new every week.
“I’m getting better each time I play.”
Ward has the honour of appearing in every single competitive victory United have achieved this season.
He has also started every game in which United have kept a clean sheet.
Goalkeeper Paul Bastock and fellow central defender Kevin Austin may both have given Hurst a few verbal bashings during pre-season, although the veterans will claim it is for the youngster’s benefit.
Gareth Jelleyman and Alan White, Ward’s regular defensive partner, are also there to pass on advice.
White has gone on the record as saying that he believes positional knowledge of football at this level, and a bit more aggression, are what Ward needs to add to his game.
Bastock has also described Ward as a ‘rough diamond’.