RYAN Bird has been tipped to have a long career as a Football League marksman.
Simon Ferry has backed the former non-league hotshot to make a successful transition into the professional ranks.
Bird is pushing for more minutes in today’s clash with Exeter, after scoring his first goal at Torquay last weekend.
Guy Whittingham has indicated the striker will have to remain patient in his bid for more playing time.
But Ferry is confident the 25-year-old will make the grade.
He said: ‘If you put balls into the box, he attacks them. He puts himself about – and hard work is worth a lot.
‘He definitely has the tools to go and have a career in the game.
‘Ryan has never been coached as a striker.
‘He’s raw, but if he gets the right coaching he can be a good player.
‘Ryan is always staying behind and doing extra shooting practice.
‘It’s not easy when you haven’t played and have been brought on. But Ryan doesn’t get disheartened and works really hard.
‘He wants to do well and has the attitude to learn.’
Bird’s goal last weekend has given his confidence a shot in the arm as he continues his football education.
Ferry believes that will boost his belief and marry well with the work-rate he puts into his game.
‘He’s a top man and I was delighted for him last weekend,’ said Ferry.
‘It wasn’t just the goal – it’s the way he works hard and puts himself about.
‘When you aren’t getting a game you want to make an impression when you get on – so I’m absolutely delighted for him.
‘He deserved that goal at Torquay and I hope there’s more to come from him.’