Following on from Valeri Bojinov’s goalscoring return to first team action yesterday, Manager Mark Hughes has admitted his delight with the striker’s contribution at Edgeley Park.
The 22-year-old might only have been on the pitch for the final 17 minutes of the 2-2 draw against Stockport County, but within minutes of his arrival, he had headed the Blues level at 1-1.
And Hughes revealed after the game: “We’re absolutely delighted that he’s come back into the team and scored a goal.
“It was great for him that he was up at the end with our fans as well [for his goal]. You can see he relates to them and they relate to him.
“He plays with a smile on his face and we were all delighted when we saw the ball rest in the back of the net.
“For his own piece of mind it was important that he got onto the field of play and he made an impact. And he certainly did that.
“He’s going to be a real plus for us this season and we’ve got big hopes that he’s going to come back and be bigger, faster and stronger.
“I think it was important that he was able to clear his mind that he’s free from injury.
“His work in training has been really explosive and dynamic and I think once he gets match fitness that will help us.”
Despite his pleasure at the return to full fitness of his Bulgarian striker, the Blues boss refused to think Bojinov’s rehabilitation is now complete.
He stated: “We can’t run ahead of ourselves, we’ve got to be careful, he’s been out for such a long time and it was a bad injury.
“He’s putting the work in and working exceptionally hard with the fitness coaches and they’ve been really pleased with his work ethic and the quality of the work he’s produced.
“Now we just need to get him on the field of play and keep bringing him on.”
As well as Bojinov, Hughes also took the opportunity yesterday to look at the other forwards available to him, and admitted: “There’s a lot of strikers and someone has to grab the initiative and show what they can do.
“The young guys have made an impression. Certainly Ched Evans during pre-season games has come on and I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen from him.
“There are opportunities for everybody. At the end of the day I’ve got to look at every option available to me. And that’s what I did at Stockport in fairness.
“Some will have enhanced their chances and others won’t have. That’s how it is.”