Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander believes David Ball has it in him to be a 20 goal a season striker – if he can stay fit.
Ball’s last two seasons with Fleetwood have been plagued by injury – the former Manchester City man missing months at a time, most recently with a broken foot.
But the 24-year-old, out of contract in the summer, has come good of late, scoring three in three games to keep Fleetwood in the play-off chase.
It’s an upturn in form which hasn’t gone unnoticed by manager Alexander who makes no secret of his respect for Ball.
He said: “I believe it’s in him to be a 20 goal a season striker.
“He has been unfortunate with injuries over the last year.
“That goes into last season too.
“He just keeps having things that take him off his stride.
“That’s harder for strikers because they need a run of games.
“You saw on Friday at Gillingham what he’s got in his locker, his quick feet, his link up play.
“We know we’ve got good quality players in the group.
“If we can keep them fit we’ll pick up a few more points between now and the end of the season.”
A brace against struggling Yeovil on Monday helped Ball climb to joint top in Town’s leading goalscorer stakes.
His tally of seven might be well short of the leading scorers in the Championship.
But Ball is keen to put his injury woes behind him.
He said: “It’s a strange game football, it turns quite quickly.
“I know that and I’ve always kept myself ready to come back into the side.
“I just hope I can make a difference.”
Ball is certainly not short of confidence, two cool finishes putting the hosts beyond reach within 15 minutes on Easter Monday after a stunning strike to equalise against Preston North End eight-days earlier.
The first was a typical poacher’s goal, as Ball explained: “Pondy stayed up there, caused a bit of mayhem and it’s bounced up.
“They look easier than they are, those ones.
“I just took it down, put it in.
“When you’re playing with confidence they’re easy.”
The second came courtesy of a flick-on by Nick Haughton – the teenager an increasingly influential man for Town.
“I don’t know if Nick jumped with his eyes shut,” joked Ball.
“It’s a good flick inside, I’ve stood off, had a bit of a pop shot and it’s gone in.
“You’ve got to be delighted with those.”
There was a chance for Town’s man of the moment to seal his Easter Monday hat-trick before half time.
But he chose instead to tee up partner Jamie Proctor, who lashed Alexander’s men into a three goal lead.
“I like to think I’m not a selfish player,” said Ball.
“Playing in Proc was the better option.
“It’s great to see him score.
“Of course you’re tempted, when you’re on your hat-trick.
“But I was on my left foot, it was the right thing to do to pass.”