International duty will give Buxton's Reece Styche an edge in the Northern Premier League - Hayward
Gary Hayward expects Reece Styche to return to action all guns blazing following his international stint with Gibraltar.
While his teammates have been without game time due to lockdown, Buxton attacker Styche has played his part as his side finished top of their UEFA Nations League table.
Styche came off the bench as Gibraltar drew 1-1 with Liechtenstein on Tuesday and drew 0-0 at 10-men San Marino on Saturday. He was also introduced in last Wednesday's 3-0 defeat in Bulgaria.
Those two draws were enough for Gibraltar to finish top of League D Group 2 with eight points, three ahead of Liechtenstein.
San Marino finished bottom with two points.
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"Reece Styche is starting to come good, which I'm really pleased about," said manager Hayward, who was impressed with his forward's form in the victories over Brighouse Town and Stafford Rangers before the campaign was paused for lockdown.
"He came on and scored two in two, scored an absolute belter (against Stafford).
"It does bode well for when he does come back because the penny's dropped and he has to work hard to get in the side.
"If you play well you keep your shirt. Nobody wants to come out the group, so they run that extra half a yard even more, which is good."
With a run in the team, Hayward believes former Forest Green Rovers and Wycombe Wanderers attacker Stcyhe will have all the attributes to cause defences nightmares in the Northern Premier League.
"He's a big lad, strong and he's got everything. He's good on the ball, great touch, good finisher," the manager added.
"To be honest with you, he should be playing more. He's just been a little bit unlucky, but when we come back he'll have had a lot of football in Gibraltar.
"As soon as he gets back in I think he's ready to push to get into the side."
NPL clubs have been told that action could return from the week commencing Monday, December 7 if lockdown ends on December 2 as planned.
The delay so far will mean that the NPL season is extended with the final league matches taking place on Saturday, May 22.