Peter Clarke has tipped Harry Souttar for a bright future as the defender misses his second game of the week through international duty.
Clarke and Souttar had featured at the back in all of Town’s matches up to and including last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Lincoln City.
After that, Souttar headed off to join Graham Arnold’s Australian squad ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Kuwait in Kuwait City next Tuesday.
It meat he missed Town’s midweek Leasing.com Trophy defeat at Accrington Stanley and will also miss Saturday’s home league clash with Oxford United.
Souttar has already represented the Socceroos at Under-23 level, with this now the second time the Stoke City loanee has been called up to the senior squad.
Clarke said: “The fact he is only 20 and he has been involed with the Australian national side speaks volumes about his capabilities.
“He has all the natural attributes to be a top-level player.
“He is in the infancy of his career but the fact that he is so willing to come out and play regular games will only benefit him and aid him in the long run.
“He has lots of good points to his game.
“He is also someone who really wants to learn and get better with every training session and match.
“I think he has got all the makings of probably possibly being a top end Championship player, if not a Premier League player.”
In Souttar’s absence, Town head coach Joey Barton gave Ash Eastham his first start of the season alongside Clarke at Accrington.
However, another loanee arrival, Jimmy Dunne, is also in contention to start alongside Clarke against Oxford this weekend.