Sheffield Wednesday: Ash Baker on his Owls battle with Liam Palmer
First-team fledgling Ash Baker admits he reveres the player he is trying to oust from the Sheffield WednesdayÂ side.
The 21-year-old is vying with Liam Palmer, 26, for the right-back role under Jos Luhukay who takes his Championship outfit to Reading on Saturday.
Both players have been handed starts this season, although Luhukay has plumped for Palmer in the last two league games which have brought 2-1 wins over Millwall and Ipswich Town.
"It is good working with Liam because we push each other," Palmer said. "He is a good player and I look up to him because I am younger."
Palmer is closing in on 200 appearances for Wednesday while Academy prospect Baker is just starting out on his senior career and has played in four matches as he benefits from Luhukay's policy since the boss's January arrival to promote young talent wherever possible.
"When Carlos (former manager Carvalhal) was here, I was on the bench a couple of times but didn't feature," he said. "As soon as Jos came in, it was clear he didn't care how old you were or how many games you had played.
"If you are good enough, you get a chance. Simple as that. That is all we can ask for. I want to get more games under my belt."
Baker has been called into the first-team fold long with a number of his teammates from the under-23s including Cameron Dawson, Jordan Thorniley, Matt Penney and Fraser Preston.
"You can see three or four debuts have happened this year," the Welsh-born defender added.
"The younger lads can see there is a pathway. It can be hard these days because some managers won't look at young players, but the gaffer here does."
Baker has set his sights on helping 14th-placed Wednesday climb towards the play-off places and is inspired by teenager Ryan Sessegnon who is now playing in the Premier Leagure with Fulham.
"I don't see why not we can't achieve what we want as a team with the younger players involved," he said. "We have done our jobs. As you saw last year with Fulham, they had youngsters like Sessegnon and got promoted. Anything can happen."