Manager Gary Haveron believes Glentoran fans are now beginning to see the best of Nacho Novo.
The former Rangers striker has struggled to make an impact since moving to the Oval in the summer as he was hampered by a number of niggling injuries.
But the little Spaniard has at last forced his way into Haveron’s reckoning and recent performances against Portadown and Linfield would suggest he is now ready kick on. Novo will be hoping to hold on to his shirt when Stephen Baxter’s Crusaders make the short trip across town to east Belfast on Saturday.
“Nacho has done well and he has been working very hard,” said Haveron. “He carried on last week (against the Blues) where he left off at Portadown the previous Tuesday.
“He has had to be patient . . . he’s had to wait for his opportunity. At the end of the day, not one player in that dressing room has the right to walk into the team - apart from Curtis Allen because he delivers, he scores goals.
“So Nacho’s patience has paid off. He took his chance against Portadown and he backed that up with another good performance against the Blues.
“Nacho and Curtis are beginning to show the potential of being a good strike partnership.”
Although the Glens lost in extra-time to their cross town rivals, Haveron believes there are better days up ahead.
“Although we were disappointed with the result, we had plenty of positives,” he added. “Marcus Kane is on the verge of returning. He was on the bench last week, but the game came just a little bit too soon for him.
“I’ve got Stevie Gordon back, having recovered from a back injury. That was probably the strongest 16 man panel I’ve had available since I joined the club.”
Haveron admits his hopes of adding to his squad in the current transfer window are remote, adding: “Wage caps don’t seem to apply to some clubs. It’s incredibly difficult. The only way we can sign players, is to move players out."