Peterhead boss Jim McInally has backed Jason Brown to handle the responsibility of being their senior centre-back for the rest of the season.
With Scott Hooper on the sidelines due to glandular fever, Brown’s importance to the Blue Toon during the final 10 games of their League One campaign has increased.
It looks like he and 20-year-old Aberdeen loanee Luc Bollan will be the Buchan outfit’s starters at centre-back during the run-in.
Brown has been inconsistent at times this term, which has prompted McInally to leave him on the sidelines. But the Balmoor gaffer has backed the 23-year-old to step up to the plate when Peterhead need him most.
The Blue Toon are only two points clear of the relegation play-off spot, in eighth spot.
McInally said: “What I would say about Jason is that I’ve left him out a couple of times this season to try to concentrate his mind.
“It’s trying to get the consistency from him. Some games he plays he’s really good then, in other games, he makes mistakes and it’s maybe a lack of concentration that lets him down.
“I’ve just tried to make him understand what we need from him and how important he is for us.
“We’re at the stage where we need Jason fully concentrated all the time.
“He knows when he’s like that he plays well and how important he is to us when he’s like that.
“Jason knows between now and the end of the season he will be our main man and we need him at his best.
“Hopefully he’ll benefit from the wee kick up the backside he’s had.
“I look at last week against Forfar and Airdrie and in both games he defended well and it’s about getting that level from him regularly.
“If we get the consistency we want, we know we’ve got a real player on our hands.”
The Blue Toon boss reckons the former Inverness Caley Thistle man can be a leader in Peterhead’s backline.
McInally added: “Jason has all the attributes and for a central defender he still has a lot of football to play and hasn’t reached his peak yet.
“He knows what he needs to do and it’s up to Jason to be a leader in defence.”
Meanwhile, Peterhead discovered yesterday they will be without Hooper for at least six weeks.
The defender has been suffering from glandular fever, which has damaged his spleen.
McInally said: “He’ll be out for a minimum of six weeks because of damage to his spleen as a result of glandular fever.
“If Scott has any contact on it then he could damage it to such an extent that he’d need to lose it.
“It’s a godsend that they’ve got to the bottom of it and I’ve always said that football is football – but somebody’s health is more important.”