Carrick boss Gary Haveron hailed the match-winning contribution of Conor McCloskey as his side bagged their first home win of the season in the Danske Bank Premiership.
The midfielder scored both of his team’s goals in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Coleraine and Haveron hopes the best is yet to come from one of his prized assets.
“Conor is a great lad and he’s popped up with two goals for us,” Haveron said. “There was a lot of expectation on him when we came up from the Championship because he was so good last year.
“A couple of games into the season he got ill and it has taken him a wee bit of time to recover but he’s a class act and he’s got an opportunity to build on Saturday’s performance. The goals will give him confidence because he was playing his way back to form and then had to serve a three-game ban.
“I’m really hoping it’s something that he will kick on from to show everybody what he’s really all about.”
And McCloskey wasn’t the only player who sparkled against the Bannsiders. Linfield loanee Adam Salley showed bags of potential up front.
Haveron agreed: “The kid is excellent. He’s only 18 and I don’t want to put him under too much pressure but David Healy thinks a lot of him and that’s why he wanted him to go out on loan to gain that experience. He told me, ‘the kid’s got it’ but he just need to play do it on a regular basis.
“I just want him to come down here and enjoy his football. We’re giving him opportunities to play and he’s been grabbing that with both hands. He’s playing like a veteran. He’s putting his body in, he’s shielding the ball, he’s protecting it and he’s running the channels.
“The only thing missing from his game against Coleraine was a goal. All in all, I thought he was outstanding.”
Carrick’s midweek league fixture against Dungannon Swifts, scheduled for Tuesday evening was postponed after the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena pitch failed a pitch inspection.
This weekend the Gers are off to Windsor Park to take on Linfield (3pm). The two sides last met in the County Antrim Shield semi-final when the Blues emerged with a 2-0 win, but Carrick did take a point from them in October.