Zack Dale, considered to be the best player in the Premier Division by Barnoldswick Town boss Matt Barnes, is just one game away from completing another level in the Hallmark Security League.
Last season’s Player of the Year, who has won 10 man of the match gongs this season, three short of West Didsbury’s Ashley Leather, is currently locked on 38 goals with Charnock Richard striker Carl Grimshaw.
Dale has one last chance to pip his rival to the big prize this term and a game against bottom-of-the-table Abbey Hey, who have shipped 114 goals during the campaign, provides the winger with the perfect opportunity to do that.
Speaking about the club’s most valuable asset, who netted twice in a 3-0 win away at Abbey Hey at the weekend, Barnes said: “I don’t hide the fact at all; for me Zack Dale is the best player in the league and we are lucky to have him.
“He won the Player of the Year award last season and he’s only three man of the match awards away from it this year.
“He’s level on goals with Carl Grimshaw, as the division’s top goalscorer. We’ll do everything we can to help him get that.
“He’s massive to our plans and to the way we play. He’s so important to us. We’ve got to keep him fresh and do everything we can to help him.”
Barnes, who saw his side beaten 2-0 by Silsden on Easter Monday, added: “He’s set his sights on winning the goalscorer award because he hasn’t won that one. He really wants that. We’ve joked that he’s already completed one level and now he wants to complete the other.
“He’s a brilliant player and a good lad as well. He’s good to have around the club. He’s so good to watch and the lads around him help with that.
“He’s an exciting player. He’s working a lot harder this year as well. He’s a focal point for us and everybody wants to play to him but he’s added to that with his work rate.
“He’s not just a goalscorer, he tracks back and helps his team-mates. He’s really grafted. Fingers crossed he wins those awards.”