Boss Jim McInally hopes Steven Boyd can help fire Peterhead to survival after bagging his first goal for the club.
The striker opened his account for the Blue Toon in the 1-1 draw against Forfar at Balmoor on Tuesday night.
The 22-year-old joined the Buchan outfit in January, after his release from East Fife, and although he is still building up match fitness McInally felt his display against the Loons was his best so far for Peterhead.
Boyd also went close to a second, hitting the crossbar in injury time, and with 10 League One fixtures left this season and Peterhead just two points above the relegation play-off place, McInally believes an in-form Boyd could have a big role to play in ensuring his side stay up.
The Blue Toon manager said: “Steven played well in the second half of his debut game (1-0 win over Dumbarton on January 25) where he won us a penalty.
“But Tuesday was probably his best performance for us so far.
“You can see he is a confidence player; one thing that stands out is that any time he’s near the goal he tries to get a shot away.
“Any time he’s near the goal he looks to strike it and I was pleased with his performance on Tuesday.
“If Steven can get a few more goals between now and the end of the season it could make a big difference.
“Something that helps him is our pitch because it was pristine on Tuesday and that allows him to play on the deck.
“We go to Stranraer on Saturday and the pitch is different and it won’t be as easy for him to play like I know he can.”
McInally felt one of the key aspects of Boyd’s performance against Forfar was hard work.
The Peterhead gaffer has been keen to ensure the former Hamilton Accies striker doesn’t feel a burden to unlock defences and reckons if Boyd does the hard yards then the goals will follow.
Scotland’s longest-serving manager added: “I said to him before the Forfar game not to feel like he’s the guy that has to do something special.
“I just said if he worked as hard as he can then everything will fall into place for him. That’s what happened in the game, he put himself in the game and got rewards because of that.
“If his chance in the last minute had gone in his confidence would be through the roof.
“He did the right thing, he caught it well and there were that many bodies around the line he lifted the shot like he had to, it was just unlucky it didn’t go in.
“He’s still working on his fitness, but he’s getting there.
“He’s another reason why we need to stay in this league because if we get a pre-season under his belt then he could be a special player in League One next season.”
During nearly 70 minutes on the pitch together in midweek Boyd and the experienced Derek Lyle showed they could have the makings of a good strike partnership.
The duo linked effectively on a number of occasions against Forfar and there could be more to come from the strike partners.
McInally said: “Steven played in the hole off of Derek a lot in the first half and they linked quite well. The only problem with that is you then need somebody running from deeper to get in behind.
“But I was pleased with the link-up between Derek and Steven and I thought, second half, some of Derek’s link-up play was excellent.”