Lowestoft Town chief Ady Gallagher hails hat-trick hero
- Credit: James Bass
Lowestoft Town joint boss Ady Gallagher has paid tribute to hat-trick hero Jack Ainsley for the transition he has made since falling out the professional game.
Ainsley was the Trawlerboys' highest profile signing in the summer after he was released by Ipswich Town and, after initially impressing, he has been in and out of the side since Christmas.
However, his treble against Wingate & Finchley on Tuesday night was reward for the hard work the 23-year-old has put in, according to Gallagher.
The Lowestoft chief admitted it can be difficult for players released from the professional game to adjust to a non-league setting. However, Gallagher believes Ainsley is coming into form at just the right time.
'I always thought Jack could get amongst the goals for us,' said Gallagher, whose side's 7-0 win kept them in contention for the play-offs, despite Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Margate. 'It's a massive transition from professional to non league and it speaks volumes for him that he has managed that. Some lads get released by professional clubs and never really come to terms with it and drop out the game altogether.
'But he is with his brother (Stuart) here and you can see that he is really enjoying his football.
'It has not been easy for him at times this year but wherever we put him – right back, right wing or up front – he always does a fantastic job for us. I couldn't be more pleased for him.'
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Gallagher wasn't surprised to see his side dish out a thumping to Wingate in midweek and believes it shows the squad is clicking at just the right time.
'It wasn't unexpected to me to see us really turn someone over because we've been threatening to do that for a while now,' he said. 'It's a good sign that this team is coming together at the right time.'
With rivals Hornchurch, Dulwich Hamlet, Maidstone, Bognor Regis and Kingstonian all dropping points in the week, all play-off positions remain up for grabs.
Gallagher admitted there is a great chance to seize the initiative and ensure Lowestoft secure a top-five berth for the fourth season in a row.
'I think there will be a few more twists and turns and it's really close between second and seventh,' he added. 'There's not a lot to choose between all those teams and it's going to be a case of whoever finishes the strongest.
'I don't think Wealdstone can be caught – it's all about the play-off positions now. We would like to think that we could be right in there.'