Brad Spencer insists nothing can assuage the pain of seeing his pal Lewis Vaughan suffer a fourth devastating cruciate knee ligament injury.
However, the Raith Rovers midfielder has hailed in-form Dario Zanatta for hitting the goal trail in Vaughan’s absence.
Zanatta bagged his sixth goal in 12 outings in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against Fife rivals Dunfermline.
Only Vaughan and Kyle Benedictus (both two) have scored more than one league goal for Raith this term, underlining the importance of Zanatta’s hot streak.
“Dario is just doing everything right at the moment. He’s a great player and I love playing with him,” lauded Spencer.
“You just give him the ball and he’s capable of beating one or two men and producing something special.
“The numbers prove that — he’s right up there with the goals and assists — and I’m delighted to see him doing so well.
“He’s a brilliant guy, too. Coming in during the summer, he already knew a couple of boys from before but he’s really gelled with all the players and is great to have about the place.
“Vaughany [Lewis Vaughan] is a huge miss and a great player. He’s a great pal and I was gutted when he got hurt again.
“We all sort of wondered where the goals would come from but Dario has stepped up — as well as a few of the other boys who have popped up with important goals.”
Spencer boasts two goals to his name this term, albeit they came in one Premier Sports Cup tie against Highland League side Brechin City.
— SPFL (@spfl) September 30, 2021
And he was left to rue a missed opportunity against the Pars when he headed a wonderful Aidan Connolly delivery wide from eight yards.
“I didn’t realise how much time I had until I saw it back,” acknowledged Spencer. “But I should score, regardless of whether it was a header or not.
“I like to dictate the play and pick up the ball deep but — at the same time — goals and assists are great for a midfielder and I’m trying to add more goals to my game.”
‘Just a training stint’
Spencer’s next opportunity to do just that will come against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday.
The son of former Scotland and Chelsea ace John, Spencer had one season in Ayrshire from 2017 after joining the club from Houston Dynamo’s academy.
He did not make a single appearance.
Suffice to say, he is keen to make more of an impact on this visit to Killie.
“I didn’t play much at Kilmarnock, I’d call it more of a training stint, really!” laughed Spencer.
“No, it’ll be good to go back there — and we’re looking for a massive three points.”