Harrogate boss Simon Weaver hailed “fantastic talent” Matty Daly after the substitute secured a vital 1-0 home win over Barrow.
Daly, 22, netted his seventh goal of a season-long loan from Championship neighbours Huddersfield, but it was his first since November after being on the periphery in recent months.
The ex-England Under-18 international’s 74th-minute strike was a timely reminder of his quality, though, with Weaver enthusing: “He’s a brilliant lad and a fantastic talent. We always have one-to-one chats and he likes to get my thoughts, which is encouraging.
“He wants to know what it will take for him to get in the team and we have never had any doubts about his ability. He has just needed to be more relentless in terms of his running off the ball.
“But, in terms of seeing things on the pitch, he has eyes in the back of his head and he’s got an edge too, so it’s up to us to get the best out of him.”
Harrogate’s victory moved them seven points clear of the relegation zone and proved the perfect tonic to lift Weaver’s spirits after last weekend’s demoralising 3-1 loss at fellow strugglers Crawley.
“I had one of the longest weeks since I have been at the club after the Crawley defeat,” the long-serving Sulphurites’ chief confessed. “So, it was a really big moment when Matty smashed the ball in the top corner and it was just as nice to hear the final whistle.
“It’s a big three points but we can’t get carried away because that’s perhaps what happened when we beat Doncaster and were then brought back down to earth at Crawley.”
Barrow boss Pete Wild, meanwhile, declared that the contest represented a “stinking” way to mark his 200th competitive game as a manager.
He said: “It was a stinking performance to bring up the 200. Nothing really happened from both teams and it was just a rubbish game of football for anybody who paid to watch it.
“We spoke before the game about being aggressive because they are a team down near the bottom of the table but we literally did nothing – good or bad. I don’t think either side did anything to deserve to win or lose the game.
“It was just one of those games where you say, ‘What was that?’”
Substitute Billy Waters cleared the crossbar in front of an open goal just three minutes before Daly’s decisive strike, with Wild adding: “He’s got to take that chance.
“He knows that and I don’t need to tell him. We don’t create too many opportunities with the way we play and, when you get ones like that away from home, you have to take them.”
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