Manager Dennis Kutrieb believes Ebbsfleet striker Elliott Romain is as good as it gets for National League South.
Kutrieb praised Romain after his two-goal salvo in the 3-0 weekend win over Bath, describing him as the best striker in the division.
No one knows how to operate better in National League South than Romain, who enjoyed successful spells at Dartford and Eastbourne before moving to the Fleet in the close season.
That move from part-time to full-time football has meant Romain has only started four matches so far, but he’s now got four goals to his name.
“Elliott Romain didn’t have many appearances and it was only his second league start but he is getting better and better,” said Kutrieb.
“He is the best striker in our league. I was saying that to him during the week. I said that you’re very experienced and have scored so many goals at other clubs at this level.
“We have other players in our squad who have more experience at a higher level and league appearances. But when we’re talking about this league, he is the most experienced player and he knows how to deal with the opponents, the referees, the challenges.”
The Fleet boss felt Romain, who also lists Maidstone and Welling among his former clubs, had lost part of his game while trying to fit into the club’s expansive style.
With limited match time, there was also a danger Romain was trying too hard to impress but a return to his natural game did the trick and he’s got a big role to play in Ebbsfleet’s promotion push.
“He is so humble and I’m delighted that he got his reward with two goals and an assist,” said Kutrieb.
“He will score goals all day long in this league, not many players have his quality and his goalscoring record.
“He is a very good player but I think he lost his own way of doing things. Of course, it’s demanding to play the way we do but as a striker you don’t need to overthink things, don’t forget your own strengths.
“I was very happy with his two goals. For me that was important because I could see he was trying harder and harder. He is getting his fitness, we wanted to bring him to the next step and that takes time, to go from part-time to full-time.
“He is fit to play games of course, but we want him to show his quality. I thought it would take him six months and he is there within four months - he has proved he is ready to go.”
The Fleet boss also praised under-fire keeper Chris Haigh after he kept a clean sheet against Bath.
Haigh looked a player under pressure during last week’s home win over Concord but he put that testing afternoon quickly behind him.
“To keep a clean sheet was good, our defending was much better than a few weeks ago,” added Kutrieb.
“Our goalkeeper was very good, so big credit for him as it’s not easy to improve so quickly (from last week) as normally that takes time.
“He was a completely different player with his attitude and talking, and that’s what I really liked. It was a good game and we were very focused. I was pleased for the players and we were ruthless on Saturday.”