The 19-year-old midfielder was introduced into the action in place of Kamil Grosicki with 13 minutes remaining in the 1-1 draw with the Robins at the KCOM Stadium to gain his first taste of Sky Bet Championship football.
It was Sheaf’s third appearance of the season – having previously come off the bench in the Tigers’ Carabao Cup and Emirates FA Cup ties against Derby County and Millwall respectively – and the former Arsenal youngster was pleased to achieve the personal target he set himself ahead of the campaign.
“Coming on to make my league debut was the icing on the cake of what has been a really positive season for me personally,” he said.
“The league debut is always the one that younger players target more than anything – it’s just massive.
“That was my long-term goal at the start of the campaign and to achieve it was a great feeling.
“That’s what I’ve been working hard towards achieving all season and I’m just grateful for all the opportunities the gaffer has given me this season – both on the pitch and training with the first-team squad all season in order to help me improve.
“Obviously I’d already played for the first-team in the cup this year, so there were no nerves as I was about to come on – it was just excitement more than anything else.
“It’s hard not to feel anything but excitement as you’re about to come on in front of our great fans onto a pitch like the KCOM. Hearing the fans cheer and clap as I came on will always be a memory that I will cherish.
“The only disappointment was that we didn’t hold on for the win. It was gutting not to come away with the three points.
“I think we deserved to come away with all three points, but it was just frustrating that we conceded so late in the game having worked so hard to put ourselves in a positive to get the win.”
Reflecting on the season as a whole, which also saw him put pen-to-paper on a new two-and-a-half year deal in December, Sheaf added: “It’s been a real learning curve for me and one that I’ve enjoyed immensely.
“With the people I’ve had around me on a day-to-day basis, I’ve been able to improve in every way – both on and off the pitch.
“I can’t thank my team-mate enough because they’ve all been a massive help, especially the lads who play in the same position as myself – the likes of Markus Henriksen, Dan Batty, Jackson Irvine and Kevin Stewart.
“Everyone has helped me in different ways and I’ve been fortunate to learn off some of the best professionals I’ll ever come across. Kev, in particular, has been great and worked really hard with me day in, day out.
“They all helped me when I came onto the pitch last weekend and was constantly talking to me and when you have a relationship like that with your team-mates, it makes things so much easier.
“Getting those minutes against Bristol City has definitely whet my appetite. It’s made me hungry for more first-team football and my focus next season will be on continuing my progress and pushing on from what I’ve achieved this term.”