Teenager Charley Sanders is being tipped to become a regular starter for Boston United.
Manager Dennis Greene has been impressed with his new-found maturity, and has big plans for the powerful striker.
Since making his first-team debut in the 3-1 FA Cup defeat to Altrincham last season, there have been no question marks over the 18-year-old’s physical ability to mix it in the men’s game.
But Sanders reported back for pre-season training with a new attitude to the game, and that is what has caught Greene’s eye.
“We’ve done a lot of work on him pre-season mentally,” the manager said.
“He’s done his work in the summer with regards to gym, extra bits and pieces.
“He’s so fit it’s incredible. If you’d have seen him in pre-season training you’d be amazed..
“But he’s now listening to what we’re asking of him.
“Charley before would be going into areas he doesn’t need to go into for someone who’s 6ft 3ins.
“We’re asking him to stand still and play on the centre half’s shoulder and start winning things for us so he can be an outlet.
“And that’s what he’s done.”
Greene believes the winning goal Sanders netted in the 2-1 win at Spalding United sums up the forward’s new approach nicely.
He added: “He got himself in a position to score a goal because that’s where he’s supposed to be.
“If that had been last season he’d be at the front post. But he knows where we want him to be.
“And if he keeps listening he’s got a great chance to force himself into the starting line-up, let alone be in the squad.”
Sanders will be among a number of fringe players who will turn out for the Pilgrims at Grantham Town tonight (KO 7.45pm).
Greene originally planned to send his full squad to the South Kesteven Leisure Centre, but recent conditions have forced his hand.
He told The Standard: “When we made the friendlies we couldn’t predict the weather conditions.
“And now we’ve had the first week of matches we’ve played Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday - in ridiculous conditions at times.
“It’s not only the heat, it’s that the pitches are so hard you’re getting blisters on the feet. It’s hard work on the players.
“It might be the case I’m going to have to rest most of the squad on Thursday, because they’re literally hanging. They might need a complete night off to rest up.”
Sanders, Jordan Nutell, James Reed, Charlie Ward and trialist Billy Bennett will be among the players travelling with United.