Glenn Ferguson believes that Eamonn McAllister is about to reap the rewards for his patience since his arrival at Ballymena United.
The winger was one of four new faces at the Showgrounds during the most recent transfer window.
Now, after a slow start, interrupted by United’s participation in cup matches for which he was not eligible, McAllister is showing signs of a return to the sort of form which saw him establish himself in the Danske Bank Premiership, before dropping into the Championship with Ards last summer.
A switch to a different team formation by Ferguson also delayed McAllister’s debut which didn’t come until a couple of weeks after he signed.
But his eye-catching cameo performances as a sub in United’s intervening league games earned him a place in the starting line-up against Institute and he notched his first goal for the Sky Blues in Saturday’s 3-0 win.
“It was frustrating for Eamonn in that when he came in we were in that run of League Cup and Irish Cup games,” said Ferguson.
“He was ineligible for the cup games and it was hard to put him in and take him out week by week so he has been patient.
“We’ve spoken to him about it and he knows we’ve brought him on when we can and we thought we would give him a start against Institute.
“He was impressive when he came on against Glentoran and he showed against Institute what he could do.
“But by his own admission, he hasn;t played much since before Christmas and he needs to get fitter and sharper.
“But for 60 minutes against Institute he did exactly what we wanted him to do, which pleased us.
“He’s good on the ball and for all the size of him, he got up and scored a header at the back post which was one thing we weren’t expecting of him!
“He put a great ball in for Allan Jenkins’ goal and another great ball in for Jenks’ header which he should have scored and then he;s got himself a goal.
“If you’re a wide player and you’re making that sort of contribution to a game, you’ve got to be happy with your performance,” added Ferguson, who was also pleased with Jenkins’ contribution at centre-forward.
“If Matthew Tipton’s not playing, Allan is probably our next option for someone who is going to hold the ball up and bring people into play.
“He and McCutcheon have played together before and we thought they would have a good understanding of how each other players but it was frustrating for them at times against Institute,” added Ferguson.