Phil Parkinson has hailed Raffaele De Vita’s statement of intent to force his way into City’s plans.
The Italian winger marked his first starting appearance at Valley Parade with a goal in the 2-1 loss to Wolves. That followed an assist on his full debut against Preston when he crossed for James Hanson’s early header.
Summer recruit De Vita had made ten previous outings for the club this season – all from the bench.
Parkinson believes the former Swindon man has shown the way for others currently stuck on the first-team fringes.
The City chief said: “It’s nice to see lads like Raf coming in and scoring. It’s good for the morale of the group.
“Generally we’ve gone with the lads who’ve finished last season and it’s been frustrating for quite a few players – Jason Kennedy, Raf, Matt Taylor, Carl McHugh and Alan Connell to name just a few.
"Unfortunately for them, the lads who have had the shirts have done really well. So it’s about doing something when you come on.
“I spoke to Raf a few weeks ago about what he needs to do. He just needed to get a goal or produce something to make a statement to push himself a little bit closer.
“He has done that. He did well coming on against Crawley, doing the job we asked, made a goal against Preston and then scored one.”
De Vita scored eight in League One last season for Swindon and six the previous term when they won promotion as champions. He had netted 11 goals in his final year playing in Scotland for Livingston.
He has been desperate to get off the mark for City after missing several decent scoring opportunities, most recently at Deepdale when he pulled a good chance across goal.
Having broken his duck now, Parkinson is hoping that will be the first of many.
He added: “I really think that will settle him down. We brought Raf in because he’s not only got great discipline in his game but he’s also got quality in and around the box.
“He has been a goal threat in his relatively short time in England.
“You’ve seen that he always gets chances every time he is on the pitch. He always has attempts so I’m so pleased that he finally got his goal.”
De Vita was taken off at half-time as a precaution with a sore hamstring, which allowed Nahki Wells to make his comeback from ankle ligament injury.
Parkinson added: “I had it in my mind to play Nahki half an hour but there was no need to risk Raf by letting him carry on and make that hamstring worse.”