It is fair to say Conor McAleny has announced his arrival at Wigan Athletic in some style!
The 23-year-old joined Latics with just minutes to spare before the January transfer deadline, in a loan deal from Everton until the end of the season.
He marked his debut at Sheffield United with the match-clinching second goal in a 2-0 win, and followed it up with a wonder-goal that helped Latics to a crucial 2-1 win at fellow promotion-chasers Walsall at the weekend.
After picking up the ball from David Perkins, McAleny steadied himself before rifling into the roof of the net from fully 35 yards.
Walsall goalkeeper Neil Etheridge didn’t get near it...not surprising really, as the trajectory of the shot also took the goalscorer by surprise!
“I was a bit shocked myself when I saw it go in to be honest, I thought it was going over!” McAleny told the Evening Post.
“But it dipped at the last minute and it’s one of the best I’ve scored in a while. As soon as I’d dropped into the space, Perks has threaded the ball through, and from then on I only had one thing on my mind.
“I do have that in my locker, to be fair. I have hit a few like that, and hopefully I can keep on doing it.
“Scoring any goal is nice, but when they’re like that it’s always something a bit better.”
Some eyebrows were raised when McAleny was pitched straight in for his debut at Sheffield United just days after joining the Wigan.
But he’s quickly showed why Gary Caldwell was so keen to bring him in, and admits the transition period could not have been smoother.
“It’s a good start and, as I’ve said before, I feel comfortable here, I feel relaxed, I feel confident,” he acknowledged.
“That’s always going to help your performances on the field, as does fitting in to a winning side.
“You could see the confidence oozing out of everyone from the minute I walked in the door.
“Joining a confident group is only going to help bring you on as a player, and that’s obviously good for me as well. Everyone’s on their toes at the moment – there’s no room for slip-ups.”
Next up for Latics is this weekend’s visit of Bury, a side who Latics have failed to beat in three previous encounters this term.
The Shakers knocked Latics out of both the League Cup (2-1) and the FA Cup (4-0), s well as drawing the corresponding league game 2-2.
They also came from two goals behind to beat Colchester 5-2 last weekend, but McAleny will not be losing any sleep with Latics having lost only two of their last 25 outings.
“They’re going to have their own confidence-booster having scored five,” McAleny added.
“But we’re at home, and we’re pretty confident we can turn them over and keep our run going.
“We’re nearly there in terms of where we want to be, but there’s still a long, long way to go. No-one here will be getting ahead of themselves.
“We’re just focused on doing it game-by-game, and seeing where we end up at the beginning of May.
“There’s a few teams with an eye on those automatic promotion spots, and we’ve got to keep going until May if we want to make sure one of them is ours.”