Tranmere boss Micky Mellon reserved some special praise for hat-trick hero Jay Harris after Tuesday’s win over North Ferriby.
The season has not been too kind to the midfielder, who less than a month ago was not even able to force his way into the match-day squad, such was the strength of the Rovers midfield.
Injuries to the likes of James Wallace and Steven Jennings mean he returned following a near three month exile, and after scoring against Chester in early March, the 29-year old has not looked back.
His treble at Grange Lane, a career first, highlighted an impressive run of form – and helped Rovers pick up a vital three points in their promotion run.
“We needed a spark,” said Mellon,
“His first goal was a cracker, he struck it ever so well. He’s an infectious little character who embarrasses people into working hard.
“He works so hard that everybody else thinks ‘I better get involved in this’.
“So I’m really pleased that he’s got a well deserved hat-trick. We were delighted, you could see by the way we celebrated.
“We’re really grateful for his second goal too, because it was an important time to score, just before half time.
” Results elsewhere meant Tranmere threw down a challenge to their promotion rivals as the race for first place hots up.
As many expected, Lincoln’s form has taken a dip since their FA Cup exit to Arsenal, and defeat to Boreham Wood means they have won just one of their last four National League games.
They also conceded top spot to Forest Green, who are five points clear of Tranmere, yet they have played two matches more and still have to visit Prenton Park.
Mellon, an experienced campaigner when it comes to this, is convinced Rovers hold the advantage because other teams will buckle under the pressure.
“I think it was just about us concentrating on ourselves,” he added, “it always will be.
“There’ll be twists and turns along the way. I know that. I’ll never get carried away, with any of the ups or downs.
“I know that it’s difficult to play under the conditions that a lot of these clubs are going to play under now, with 10 games to go.
“They’ll learn an awful lot about themselves, but me and Mike Jackson have gone this track before and we’ve got a lot of players who have too.
“We’re just trying to keep everybody calm and focused on the job and keep picking up points for Tranmere.
“We know that we’ve come through a difficult spell.
“After tonight’s game, we’ve only had three games at home in the league since Boxing Day, which is incredible.
“The chairman’s not happy either, with the cashflow!
“But it’s a really exciting time. The crowd will come in and roar us on and Tranmere will be a good place to be.
“We’ll be steady, and take it every step, make sure we get the boys recovered and get them ready for a massive game at the weekend.”