BOSTON United boss Lee Canoville believes Tom Ward and Nathan Stainfield could form a successful defensive partnership at York Street for years to come.
The young pair have formed a good understanding since being teamed up for the first time at Vauxhall Motors last month.
And six games together have heralded two clean sheets and 13 points.
The duo also received a boost last week as Ward was named the Blue Square Bet North Player of the Month for February, as he also netted two goals.
And aged just 23 (Stainfield) and 21 (Ward), the pair still have their best playing years ahead of them.
Canoville praised Ward for his improvements since moving up from the reserves in the summer.
“He can be a towering presence,” he said. “He’s got better since he joined us and can get goals as well. He’s much more dangerous from set-pieces.”
Meanwhile, Canoville, himself a central defender, has seen vast improvements in Stainfield since he was loaned out to Hucknall.
He joined the Pilgrims after spending the summer coaching in the USA. Being thrust into the first team without a pre-season to get match fit cost him an injury, but a loan spell at Hucknall gave him much-needed match action.
Canoville continued: “He’s come back a stronger player. The main thing was he needed games and a pre-season. We know Nathan’s ability and it’s definitely helped him.
“He’s a great lad to work with. He’s very aggressive in his play, but off the pitch one of the nicest lads you can ask to meet.”