Luton Town boss Nathan Jones is determined to turn striker Isaac Vassell into a real ‘diamond’ for the Hatters this term.
The 23-year-old forward, who joined from Truro City in the summer, experienced a slow start to life at Kenilworth Road, going 16 games without a goal to begin with.
However, after breaking his duck in the 2-0 victory at Morecambe in November, Vassell has simply flown through the gears since.
He notched twice in Tuesday night’s 5-2 Checkatrade Trophy quarter-final thumping of Yeovil Town, scoring for the fourth successive game, and now has six in his last seven matches and eight overall for the season.
Vassell’s performance on the night had shades of another Luton striker who came in from non-league, Andre Gray, with the way that he terrorised the Glovers defence, producing a bums off seats display full of devastating pace and power.
Jones said: “At times he’s unplayable, the pace and power, he wants to get in, he is a bit of an animal and I’m so, so delighted to have him.
It’s just making sure that we educate him and get him better, because if I can’t improve that then there’s something wrong with me.Nathan Jones
“Once he learns his trade, we’ve got to remember he was at Plymouth where he wasn’t used, he went and played non-league football and no disrespect to a lot of teams, he wouldn’t have got an education there I don’t think.
“Now we’ve got him and it’s all part of the learning curve. But what he has, he has attributes that you can work with and they’re potent, real good attributes and if he doesn’t get better then I’m not doing my job.
“It’s about polishing the rough edges into a real diamond as he can be a diamond. He’s at a good club now where he gets coached and educated, because if I can’t improve that then there’s something wrong with me.”
Vassell recently spoke about how he had been getting tips from Hatters legend Mick Harford, who recommended him to Town after scouting him at Truro last season, to improve his forward play.
Jones was quick to praise the ex-Luton boss for his part in the striker’s development too, saying: “That’s the type of staff we have around the place as well.
“Mick’s in every day, he’s the head of our recruitment, Mick speaks to him and is great to have around.
“Paul Hart speaks to people too and that experience helps people like me, Joaquin (Gomez) learn, because we’re still learning as well.
“So we’ve very, very fortunate to have the staff we have around the club, and it’s very, very pleasing.”
Meanwhile, Vassell is forming what could be a lethal partnership with Danny Hylton, as he set up Luton’s leading scorer for goal number 15 in midweek.
Hylton believed that the ex-Plymouth forward would always make an impact after adapting to his new surroundings, adding: “He’s an animal. He’s so quick, so strong, direct, he’s got a good touch, he’s athletic and he’s got everything, honestly.
“He needed a few games to settle in and get his confidence up. You saw it when he scored that goal and now he’s confident, he’s flying.
“If I was a defender I wouldn’t want to play against him. I think he’s got everything and it’s a pleasure to play with him.
“Hopefully he can continue that form, keep scoring goals, keep winning us games and push us up the table.
“He just needed a run of games in the league. Under the manager and the staff that we’ve got, they’ve guided him, worked with him, as they do with everybody.
“You really see him improving now and I think he’s got those goals, he’s settled in the team and he’s only going to get better. That’s scary that he can get better.”