Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton has said that midfielder Kyle Dempsey can be anything he wants.
Dempsey has been a star turn in Barton’s side recently and scored his first goal of the season in the Cod Army’s 3-3 draw at Southend United last week.
Barton is excited by the prospect of improvements in Dempsey’s game and believes the midfielder has taken his chance in the Fleetwood team.
He said: “On the last few weeks showing, for sure. Great to get a goal on Saturday, but his performances before that showed that it was inevitable.
“The ability he has, if he carries on in the same vein of form, he will be the real bonus of the season for us.
“He’s a player that has the ability to score goals from midfield, which is rare.
“To do it consistently, to take players on, to make goals, he could be anything he wants to be; he’s that good.
“Now I see what the chairman (Andy Pilley) saw and now I see what the fans have seen.
“If he carries on playing that way, we’re in for an exciting season because at this moment in time he’s been first class and long may that continue.”
“We’d seen signs of it in pre-season.
“We had a player who, for all manner of different reasons, just didn’t get going last year.
“There was a period where he went out on loan, it clearly didn’t happen there as well.
“For Kyle, he just couldn’t get going. He couldn’t get a flow of games, he couldn’t get confidence, he couldn’t get into his rhythm.
“He had a tough year last year. Credit to him, he’s come back.”
One of the biggest changes in Dempsey has been his mentality, according to his manager, and he gave early signs that he was a changed man in pre-season.
Barton said: “I remember two days into pre-season, I was just chatting to him, and he was completely different in his persona.
“He’d had the ability and the mental strength to dust off a poor season for him personally and he was determined to make this season a success.
“That’s not easy in football, it takes a certain type of character to be able to departmentalise a previous season.
“He got an injury which set him back about five weeks after being superb in Portugal.
“The old Demps, that we inherited here, would have got down, would have felt sorry for himself; but the new Demps didn’t miss a beat.
“He carried on with his work, kept a positive mindset, kept himself where he needed to be and got himself into this position.
“He’s done this himself; this is not anyone’s cause to champion other than Demps’.
“He’s an absolute credit to himself for getting into the position.”