Striker Manasse Mampala notched his first ever senior goal on Tuesday night when he got on the end of an excellent cross from Lewi Alessandra with just under 10 minutes left to play against Hartlepool.
And it was an overall performance from the former-Everton forward which earned praise from his manager, who later revealed that he’s been using Mampala’s favourite player as something of a learning tool.
“I was really impressed especially with Manasse,” he confirmed. “Although he always looks tired, but before he got tired, the way he ran hard and tackled well was good to see.
“He played an outside right position, it looked like it suited him slightly more than playing with his back to goal. He’s got capabilities of playing in any frontline position and I was so pleased for him to score his first goal.
“His favourite player is Drogba, and I’ve shown him clips of Drogba, he’s got a long way to go but at the same time I said ‘You’re going to be a millionaire if you run real hard’.
“He’s got great capabilities and if he starts to run hard with or without the ball, he is so difficult to play against. His touch is very good, his decision making needs to be better and his goal threat has to go higher.
“And the way he lays onto another player, lays the ball off, it has to be cleaner. If he gets all that right and gets more dominant in the air, he could be anything he wants to be.”
“I was happy with the way Brad Young played as well,” he confirmed. “He’s come in from the delights of a Premier League club, he’s living in a house with some of the other lads now, and he has to get used to that.
“He’s running round like mad, giving everything the other night and getting involved. He looks very sharp, has good feet under lots of pressure and doesn’t mind body contact. I love that style of play.
“I can only see him having more minutes with us and he earned his stripes for me the other night – that trust element you’re looking for, rather than a guess or a hope. Both those players earned more trust.”
And on the young Cumbrian duo, he told us: “Taylor and Josh worked very hard. Taylor got uplifted with the goal, and an excellent penalty as well, because there was a lot of pressure on a local lad to be put in that position.
“I had going through my head what Brandon Beech tells me, ‘Whoever takes the first penalty, dad, irrelevant of them scoring or missing, always wins’.
“When Hartlepool missed I just thought, percentage wise, we’ve got hardly any chance of winning, because the penalty always falls on that weight psychologically. Going last makes it harder for Taylor to score, but he did, so well done to him.”
“Defensively I thought we were great,” he concluded. “Lukas Jensen played well, got his couple of penalty saves, one moment he scared us all when he ran past the lad who came on and had a free header at the back post, but other than that he was very good.
“At 3-1 it looked like it could be five or six, it was just a shame we’ve been done by an excellent goal and the penalty situation.
“Jon Mellish was absolutely excellent as a centre-half bar his decision to go to ground on that tackle. But in terms of performance you’re not going to see a better League Two performance than that as a centre half.”