YORK City’s teenage loan signing Brad Halliday would rather tackle the likes of 16-stone powerhouse Adebayo Akinfenwa than carry on playing games for Middlesbrough Under-21s.

Halliday, 19, was given a bruising introduction to Sky Bet League Two football on his professional debut at the weekend when he was pitched against Akinfenwa’s AFC Wimbledon during a 3-2 home defeat for the Minstermen.

But the Redcar-born full-back was not cowed by the challenge, winning both the sponsors’ and The Press man-of-the-match awards for a determined and positive performance.

He is now hungry for more senior outings after his loan from the Riverside was extended.

“I thought it was physical and tough,” Halliday said of his first taste of lower league action. “Akinfenwa, up front, is really powerful and strong, but I enjoyed it and I have got more to prove and show.

“As far as my development goes, it’s better than playing U21 games at Middlesbrough in my eyes. These lads are playing for something because they want points to move up the table.

“These matches are more about winning and losing. If you lose U21 games it’s obviously a big deal, but not as big as it is here.”

Halliday was presented with a bottle of champagne for his efforts on Saturday but has no intention of drinking it, with his parents likely to receive an early Christmas gift.

“I hardly drink alcohol, so I will give it to my mum and dad,” he explained.

“But when I heard the announcement over the tannoy that I was man of the match, I was delighted, especially with it being my senior debut.

“My friends and family were also in the stands and I think I did them proud as well as myself and showed the manager what I can do. He said he was really impressed and that I had done well.”

Halliday is now hoping to stay in the City line-up, having been preferred to 26-year-old Antigua & Barbuda international Marvin McCoy, who had played every previous minute during the Minstermen’s opening four months of the season.

“I was a bit nervous going into the game because it was the last day of my loan and the first time I have played,” Halliday confessed. “I had something to prove and show and, hopefully, I did that.

“I’ve been very frustrated on the bench but I’ve been working hard and training well, as have the lads in front of me. When I came here, I didn’t expect to go straight into the team and Marv has been doing very well but, hopefully, having been given the shirt, I can keep it now.”

The Boro youngster also revealed his rivalry with McCoy was a friendly one, adding: “Marv encouraged me before the game and told me to do what I can.

“I’ve become good friends with him because we have similar skills and are helping each other.”

Halliday appreciated, meanwhile, being told by City boss Russ Wilcox he would be making his debut two days before the Dons clash, giving him time to mentally prepare.

He explained: “I found out on Thursday that I would be playing and that helped. If the manager had left it until the day of the game, I would have probably just thought that Marv would be playing because he’s been doing well, so I’m glad I was told early.”

While he received individual plaudits, however, Halliday admitted the result was a poor one for the hosts, if undeserved, reasoning: “I thought we did well and two goals should have been enough to get us at least a point.

“We were unfortunate really because, other than their goals, I can’t remember our keeper having many saves to make. We had the better opportunities but didn’t take our chances and we made silly mistakes for their goals.

“The first one was down to me and the centre-back alongside me because their lad nipped in front of us and headed it in. We could have also dealt with the third one in the corner but we gave the ball away.

“It was a poor result and not what we wanted but these things happen and we’ve just got to try to get three points from the next game now.”

Halliday displayed bundles of attacking spirit against the Wombles and is promising more forward bursts as his energy levels improve, saying: “I like to get up and down.

“Your defensive duties are important but, hopefully, I will be able to get forward more next week. I enjoy both – attacking and defending.

“Towards the end against Wimbledon, I was struggling for fitness and getting a bit tired but I just carried on going and gave 100 per cent for the team and, if I get more games under my belt, I will definitely be getting up and down that line.”