A FEW wise words from manager Peter Jackson have raised the spirits of teenage striker John McAliskey.
Mac the Knife grabbed four goals in a sensational run-in last season and played as a substitute in the victorious play-off final in Cardiff.
He was disappointed, therefore, to be left kicking his heels this term until Jackson put a consoling arm around his shoulders and played him from the bench against Leeds United in midweek.
"It was great to be involved again and I really enjoyed it," said McAliskey, who went on for the final 16 minutes of the Carling Cup first-round defeat.
"Everything happened very quickly for me last season and, I suppose, I couldn't expect it to continue like that this time.
"It didn't stop me being disappointed at being left out, though, so the gaffer took me on one side and explained I wasn't out of the team because I wasn't doing well.
"He explained it was difficult to accommodate everyone with the squad being fit and doing well and that I should just bide my time, wait for a chance and then take it when it comes along."
McAliskey did his selection prospects no harm at all with a bright cameo display in front of 30,000-plus down the M621.
It followed a two-goal show in the first Reserve game of the season, when he was offered an unusual incentive by Jackson.
"He told me there was £20 for a hat trick, but that third goal just wouldn't come," said the Golcar-based player.
"I think the gaffer cursed me by telling me there was money to be made, but I really enjoyed that game and it helped get my confidence up.
"Scoring early on really helped (it was 21 seconds into the game) and I enjoyed myself. The gaffer telling me to be patient and just keep going made me feel even better and now I'm looking forward to doing well."