DAVID Ngog’s match-winning strike against Burnley gave a reminder of his capabilities in front of goal with an instinctive finish to seal a first Championship victory of 2013 for Wanderers.
But his fifth goal of the campaign in his cameo off the bench is unlikely to secure him a regular first-team berth just yet.
The young French forward was praised by Whites boss Dougie Freedman for his impact in the final half hour of the 2-1 win against the Clarets at the Reebok.
But the Scot says Ngog needs to maintain his hard work on the training ground if he is to establish himself as first choice.
Ngog is still only 23 years old and will be the first to admit it has not always gone swimmingly for him at the Reebok since his £4million switch from Liverpool 18 months ago.
Indeed, more than a third of his 59 appearances have come from the bench with nine goals to his name to date.
But Freedman is quick to point out his tender years despite that spell at Anfield.
The manager said: “He has got a long way to go before he’s a complete player.
“You can forget what age David is, and just because he’s come from Liverpool people think he’s the finished player. He’s not.
“He’s realised that and he’s working very hard on the training ground.
“That’s why I have praised him because I thought he did well to come on and stretch the game.
“He’s got a long way to go before he’s a regular pick but he’s certainly heading in the right direction.”
Ngog has made 20 appearances this campaign but eight of those have come as substitute. Four of his five goals have come from the bench, however, and it has proved an asset for Freedman since his arrival.
There was speculation the former France Under-21s striker could leave in last month’s transfer window with Newcastle linked and Fulham reportedly wanting to take him to Craven Cottage on loan with a view to a permanent move in the summer.
Freedman accepted at the time a big bid would have to be considered but also stated he wanted Ngog to stay on board.
And it appears the boss who made the development of young players his trademark at previous club Crystal Palace is enjoying working with Saturday’s matchwinner.
Freedman added: “David is only a young guy and one I like working with.
“Leadership can be done in different ways. David does things differently. He's a quiet kind of guy but he certainly leads through what he does on the pitch.”