ANDY BOOTH is close to eclipsing another Town scoring record and today got a big pat on the back from manager Peter Jackson.
The 32-year-old needs only three more to draw level with Billy Smith on 126 goals in Town colours and hopes to edge nearer in tomorrow's clash with Port Vale at Vale Park (3.00).
Jackson - who will not finalise his team until illness victim David Graham reports tomorrow - commented:
"Boothy deserves to be right up there with the great goalscorers of the club's history and he's going great guns.
"He has been a fantastic member of the squad ever since I returned to the club and his record over the years is outstanding.
"If he can overtake Billy Smith in the standings with another four goals then that will be a tremendous achievement, and Boothy has got time on his side.
"The way he's playing at the moment he's got a lot more games left in him, and the quality of his goals against Rotherham last week just illustrates what I mean.
"If we put good quality crosses into the box then there's no-one better than Boothy to finish them. He's also good in defence."
Booth (123) is fourth behind Smith (126) Jimmy Glazzard (154) and George Brown (159) in the all-time scoring chart.
Jackson has Gary Taylor-Fletcher on standby to partner Booth in what would be a 25-goal attack should loan man Graham, who has missed training for the last two days, not be fit enough to face Martin Foyle's side, who have lost their last two home matches since superstar singer Robbie Williams invested in the club.
Foyle and assistant Dean Glover have just signed extended contracts, while Vale expect to have Michael Walsh in their squd for the first time this season.
"We know Vale are wanting another couple of wins to make sure they stay out of relegation trouble, but this is an important match for us in the promotion race and we want to make sure of three points," added Jackson, who includes Michael Collins and John McCombe in the squad.
Port Vale - Goodlad, McGregor, Pilkington, Fortune, James, Cummins, Dinning, Togwell, Birchall, Constantine, Smith, Husbands, Brain, Holmes, Innes, Briscoe, Walsh.
Town - Senior, Holdsworth, Adams, N Clarke, McIntosh, Brandon, Worthington, Hudson, Schofield, Booth, Taylor-Fletcher, Graham, Ahmed, Mirfin, McAliskey, Collins, McCombe, Rachubka.
Referee - Graham Laws (Whitley Bay).
* Fans are reminded Town are home to Chesterfield on Tuesday, April 18 (7.45).