Oxford City boss Mike Ford has urged in-form winger Felipe Barcelos not to sit on his laurels, but instead step-up his performances.
Last weekend, the Brazilian hit a four-timer in City’s 6-2 thrashing of Hinckley United in Blue Square Bet North.
And although he fired a blank in Tuesday’s goalless draw with Histon, Ford said Barcelos’s displays could help earn him a new contract when his 18-month deal ends in the summer.
Earlier in the season, the Brazilian-born winger struggled to make the starting line-up, but has thrived since he was given a run in the first XI two months ago.
“Felipe’s finishing against Hinckley was outstanding,” said Ford.
“Bagging four goals at any standard, let alone at this level isn’t easy and he should be very proud of himself.
“That’s six goals in nine games – he now needs to use that as a spur.
“He’s still needs to improve and then at the end of the season he can say ‘I want this, this and this in my contract’.
“If he continues to play like that, then he can dictate his own terms – he’s in the driving seat.”
He added: “Histon was a tough game for Felipe and he struggled from the outset, but he still worked hard.
“I will let him off that one because that’s his first dip in eight weeks.” Meanwhile, Ford says the absence of Steve Basham (calf injury) gives Ashan Holgate a chance to cement a place, beginning with tomorrow’s game at Workington, where he will start.
Ford said: “It’s an opportunity for Ashan, but he’s got to go out and do it, it’s no good telling me what he can do.
“He played his first 90 minutes for the club against Histon and did better, but he’s got to keep it up.”
City will also be without Liam Malone (ankle), Declan Benjamin (suspended) and Zach McEachran (unavailable), but Josh Mulvany is added to the squad after returning from a trip to America.
As they face a 570-mile round trip, Ford and his players will travel today and stay overnight.
Ford added: “We’ve got four points from our last two games and we are looking to get a good result at Workington.
“They got kicked in the teeth with a four points deduction (for fielding an illegible player), so it will be tough, but it’s a challenge we are looking forward to.”
Oxford City: from Ingram, Stonehouse, Learoyd, Wilmott, Stanley, McNish, Pond, Ballard, Bell, Barcelos, Holgate, Cook, Bell, Mulvany, Glass.