Nick Haughton’s on the verge of breaking into Fleetwood Town’s first team but won’t be rushed by boss Graham Alexander.
The 20-year-old was an unused substitute on Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Coventry City, having very nearly sealed victory against Sheffield United a week earlier with a spectacular late volley.
Alexander made it clear he’s impressed with the progress the former Runcorn Town midfielder has made in the last 12 months but doesn’t feel he’s ready, yet, for a full 90 minutes of League One action.
“Nick’s time will come,” insisted Alexander.
“Of course it will, because he will force it.
“That’s what these young players have to do, they have to force the issue.”
And the Fleetwood manager used the example of another promising youngster to show how quickly fortunes can change.
“Tyler Forbes wasn’t in our thinking as a right back two months ago,” he told The Gazette.
“That’s not our thinking for the first team but our thinking as a right back.
“He’s been given the opportunity in training, showed what he can do.
“He sniffed an opportunity and you can tell by the way he trained and played he was after a first team spot.
“Nick is doing the same thing.”
Haughton will have to force his way into the reckoning against a number of Town’s top stars, with the likes of Gareth Evans, Antoni Sarcevic and Jeff Hughes vying for midfield places.
Alexander believes his all round game isn’t yet up to the mark required.
He said: “Nick is up against players in attacking positions who can do both sides of the game for long periods.
“We don’t believe at this time he’s at that level.
“But he’s got fantastic ability, great awareness and absolutely no fear.
“But when we go into games we have to think about 90 minutes, the defensive structure of our team and how we can compete for a long period.”
But Alexander is confident the development squad midfielder is close to making his breakthrough - something he insists will come
“Nick’s coming on, he’s not far off,” said Alexander.
“He could be one game away from starting for us.
“He’s a fantastic talent and if he puts the same work into his game he has over the last six months, particularly physically because he’s done a lot of work on that side of things, he’s an exciting players.
“We know when we introduce him, whether it’s starting or coming on, he’s going to do something for us.”