BRENDAN Kelly hailed captain Richard Gregory after the forward stepped up his return to the team with two goal-scoring starts in the space of the week.
The 30-year-old got the ball rolling in Bromsgrove Sporting’s 5-0 midweek Worcestershire Senior Cup victory over Malvern Town with a strike three minutes after the restart, which preceded red cards for the visitors’ James Febery and Liam Spink.
It followed up on his goal which wrapped up proceedings in Saturday’s 3-0 Southern League Premier Central win at Needham Market – where Shaquille McDonald starred with a double.
But despite finding the net in the Rouslers’ last two games, it is the all-round game of Gregory which has most impressed his manager in recent weeks.
“I’m probably more delighted with his performances than his goals, he’s always going to score goals so that’s not a problem,” said Kelly.
“His performances have kicked on recently, he was carrying a couple of injuries before that and was not 100% fit when he was in the team.
“He lost his place but he’s trained hard and he’s back to being a key player for us.”
Following in the footsteps of the Bromsgrove skipper to add to the scoreline on Tuesday night – which sets up a meeting with Evesham United in the semi-finals – were Will Shorrock, Greg Mills and Mike Taylor with a double.
After a lacklustre opening half, Kelly says the final scoreline “flattered” his team but was ultimately pleased with the improvement after the break, adding: “The second half was a lot better, our quality shone through in our attacking play.
“Our squad was stretched, we had two under-18s on the bench and four or five players playing out of position.
“I think [we had to address] the mindset of our players, it was a really foggy night, it was not a night for football and the pitch was quite rough.
“I said we needed to work harder, and we came out and put in a much better shift and upped our work rate – which are two of the main foundations for lifting a performance.”
Kelly and co. now turn their attentions back to the league when hosting AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday (3pm), with Bromsgrove going into the fixture sitting second at present.
“I can categorically say that the 8-2 win is a distant memory and that we won’t be looking back at the result at all,” said the Sporting manager in reference to October’s rampant win at Hayden Road.
“It was a freak result and one of the strangest games that I’ve been involved in. Both teams have strengthened since then, but we’ll just be concentrating on ourselves.”
A confirmed absentee this weekend is McDonald, who is set to be out for a couple of weeks, while Nathan Hayward, Jak Hickman and Kyle Lincoln are doubts.