Michael Duff praised on-loan Watford defender Mattie Pollock after his goal took Cheltenham into the second round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 replay win over Gillingham.
Pollock finished from close range in the 11th minute and despite the home side dominating long periods of the game, no further goals followed at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
“Mattie has shown what he can do aerially and it’s one of the reasons we wanted to sign him,” said Cheltenham manager Duff.
“He has other parts of his game he needs to tidy up, but he is improving and he is working hard.
“He’s a good kid who wants to learn. He’s come here from a Premier League team and he didn’t have to come out on loan, he could just sit there after moving for £250,000 and picking up a nice wage.
“By all accounts the first thing he said when he signed for them is ‘don’t put me in the Under-23s, I want to go and play football’.”
Pollock, 20, had netted the Robins’ goal in Kent before Gerald Sithole earned the Gills a replay.
It did not take him long to find the net again, touching in with his left foot after Kyle Vassell nodded Chris Hussey’s corner into his path.
Gillingham boss Steve Evans, who is reportedly wanted by League Two Stevenage, admitted the better side won on the night despite a late penalty shout going against his injury-ravaged team.
“The better team won, there is no doubt, but we’re bringing on 16-year-olds to keep us in the cup tie,” said Evans.
“I can’t question our effort and determination to stay in the cup though.
“I dread to think what we’ll have available for the next game against Crewe. We’ll not have any chance of getting the injured players back.”