Port Vale loanee Lewis Hardcastle says he is “excited” by the challenge of stepping up to senior football.
Hardcastle was a regular in the Blackburn Rovers junior ranks before securing a season-long loan to Port Vale.
He told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I think they’ve been interested for quite a while and this season they’ve watched the three games I’ve played,” Hardcastle said.
“I’ve been at Blackburn for 14 years so I haven’t really been out of my comfort zone.
“This is a great experience. When I was 17 I went to Salford and played in the FA Cup but it’s time for me to kick on now.
“It needs to benefit me loads. People my age can go under a bit by not playing men’s football so this is my opportunity.”
“I’ve been playing for the Under-23s and I’ve not had a chance with the first team yet but hopefully I can get a few games here, do well for Port Vale, give my all and then try to get in the first team there.
“First team football is all about winning. It’s a massive step up from 23s, where you’re playing against people your own age and your own size so you’ve got to be ready physically.
“And I’m certainly not scared about that, I’m excited about the challenge.
“I want to go as high as I can.”