By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Eagle-eyed United fans may have noticed youngster Michael Richardson warming up with the first team squad pre-match in recent weeks.
But while the 20-year-old former electrician is clearly on the fringes of manager Alan Pardew's star-studded ranks, Richardson is not getting carried away.
Instead he has realistic ambitions between now and the end of the campaign - quite simply to keep developing at Reserve team level and see where that takes him higher up in the Magpies' ranks.
"Playing with the first team and training with the first team is great for me," said the all-action midfielder, who was spotted playing for Walker Central around two years ago.
"It's exciting being a part of it - training with the first team and being part of the matchday squads (against Arsenal, Norwich and West Brom), especially as we are doing so well at the moment in the Premier League.
"There's great spirits in the camp and it's great to be a part of that.
"I just want to keep progressing. You can only do as well as you can playing in the Reserves, training hard and trying to improve.
"There is still a long way to go this season - the first team have got eight games, and if I am involved then great. But I just want to keep progressing and if I do then I'll be happy with that."
Despite his tender years, Richardson was one of the more senior members of a youthful Reserve side which lost 4-1 to West Brom on Thursday afternoon.
And, result aside, he believes the experience will benefit all of those involved in the second-string.
"The result was disappointing in the end, but there were a lot of things to learn from it," said Richardson.
"And as long as we are learning from the game then there is progress.
"There were a lot of young lads out there and it's great for them to play - great experience for them.
"It's a big step up from Academy football to the Reserves, and then Reserves to first team. But the higher you step up the more you can learn from it, and hopefully the younger lads will have learned from this one.
"Being one of the older lads on the pitch it was more about looking after them and leadership than what you're used to when you play with the bigger players. It's good for me and good for them.
"We will go back to the drawing board, keep working at it and come back better in the next game."