BURTON Albion were today hoping to tie up a deal that will keep wing wizard Zeli Ismail at the Pirelli Stadium for the rest of the season.
The 20-year-old scored a fantastic winner for the Brewers as they beat Morecambe 1-0 away on Saturday.
It was the last game of his one-month loan from Wolves – but Albion boss Gary Rowett is hopeful that an extension can be agreed with the West Midlands giants.
“We’re hoping we can extend the loan,” said the manager. “He’s playing and enjoying it and has done very well for us.
“He’s set three goals up in five games so far and scored one to win a game.
“He’s had a huge effect.”
Ismail hit a memorable first goal in senior football to win Saturday’s game at the Globe Arena, cracking the ball home from the edge of the area on his left foot.
The victory ended a three-match winless run and Rowett was delighted with the way Albion picked up their game to record a seventh away win of the League Two season.
“I was really pleased with the way we played – we played with good control for an away side,” he said.
“We created one or two good opportunities and certainly got into some fantastic positions wide, one-on-one with the full-backs.
“I thought we could’ve done a little bit more first-half. I thought we played really well, but we didn’t have the icing on the cake, the final bit of quality which was always going to unlock the game.”
It was important the Brewers did not go without a win for too long and Rowett revealed the hardest week of training since pre-season helped get the players over their slight rough patch.
“There’s a real belief about the players and the squad that we’re doing the right things,” he said.
“We’ve come away from it a little bit and this week we’ve worked really hard and done the most minutes in training since pre-season.
“I said to them they’ve worked so hard, let’s take it into the game.
“I’m talking about performance - the result is fantastic but I wanted to see something that lifted our spirits a little bit.
“For an away performance at this time of the season, with the pressure we’re under to win to stay in there, I thought it was a really important result.”
Goalkeeper Rob Lainton made his full debut for Albion in place of the injured Dean Lyness after signing on loan from Bury on Saturday morning.
Rowett was pleased with what he saw from the big 24-year-old in difficult conditions.
He was also impressed with striker Gary Alexander, who led the line well alongside Adam McGurk.
“The conditions were always going to be difficult for both teams,” said the manager. “They managed to get it on, though, so fair play to the ground staff.
“They were difficult conditions to come in and I thought both of them in their own way looked really, really positive.
“Rob’s kicking and a couple of saves that’s he made, one in particular in the first half coming out to block a striker, were really good.
“Gaz is an intelligent player. I think you can see he’ll win things, he’ll hold things up and he’ll be a threat.
“He brings others into play and is really good player.
“The fitter he gets, the more effect he’ll have on games.”
Lainton has joined Albion for a month - but the deal could be longer if he continues to impress while Lyness, who has been largely excellent this season, rests his injured thigh.
“We’ll take him for a month and take it from there,” said Rowett. “Deano’s had a slight injury which has affected his kicking.
“He picked it up about two months ago and has not been able to get over it.
“He’s not been able to work on his kicking in training and I think that’s affected it.
“For a couple of weeks it might help him to get out of the firing line.
“Today showed how important that kicking is to get you up the pitch when you’re under pressure.”