Nicky Deverdics has had to be patient for his chance at Hartlepool United this season.
But gaffer Craig Hignett reckons that now, having been handed his chance to shine in the first-team, creative Deverdics can provide Pools with the perfect spark in midfield.
I was really pleased with his performance on Saturday.
Hignett was full of praise for the 28-year-old’s performance in the weekend’s comprehensive 3-0 win over Grimsby.
Stepping in for the suspended Nicky Featherstone, Deverdics played in a deeper role than he is used to, but excelled in the Pools midfield engine-room.
And Hignett reckons that Deverdics has the opportunity, with Featherstone still to serve a further two games of his ban, to establish himself in the Pools starting XI.
“I’m really pleased for Nicky Deverdics,” said Hignett of the midfielder who started just his third League Two game of the campaign.
“He has an opportunity now and to be honest he was a bit tense at first. He has probably been trying too hard.
“He is a lot more relaxed now and he’s a really good footballer.
“Nicky is a creative footballer who gives us something extra.
He can pick a pass in that department and can see them as well.
“I was really pleased with his performance on Saturday.”
Deverdics is not the only member of Pools’ squad who has had to be patient for their chance so far this season.
Despite being club captain and top scorer last season Billy Paynter has not been a guaranteed pick in Hignett’s side.
Youngsters Bradley Fewster, who got 15 minutes off the bench at the weekend, and Tom Heardman, who are both on loan from Middlesbrough and Newcastle United respectively, are both also still waiting for a crack in the side.
But Hignett says while every member of his squad has value, they will have to be patient, just like Deverdics has been.
He said: “We have a lot of players who want to play and are disappointed that they have not played.
“I understand that. But at the end of the day they have to be patient and it is my decision.
“I will do what I think is best for the team and best for this football club.”
Reflecting back on the game, Hignett reckons his players showed a bit of maturity to see out the game, especially after conceding late goals in each of their last two games with Luton Town and Plymouth Argyle.
Hignett said: “We managed the game a lot better.
“When we’ve been under the cosh we’ve played too much football at times, but not today, we cleared our lines when we had to.
“Goal three was massive, if they did we would have to defend for our lives and then we could have had more.
“With the odd tweak or two we will adapt to what we are up against. Grimsby started well, high tempo and I felt if we intercepted we could break because they would be open and they were.”