LATICS striker Zak Dearnley is confident patience will prove to be a virtue after a fragmented season so far.

The former Manchester United youngster was back on the scoresheet in the ultimately abandoned game at Forest Green on Saturday.

It would have been a seventh of the season for the 22-year-old who scored four in four games back in October before a troublesome hamstring problem halted his progress.

Now he is hoping to cement a spot in Harry Kewell’s thinking ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup third round clash with Bournemouth at Boundary Park having purposefully not rushed back from injury last month.

“I could have played but I didn’t want to rush it,” Dearnley told The Oldham Times.

“I wanted to get back fit and do it the right way even though it might have been a bit longer.

“There’s been ups and downs this season.

“People forget that I didn’t play for six months last year, came back in January, played eight games and then had the Covid period.

“We’d been out longer than we normally would be when we started up again and getting back into I got a little knock, a little injury which was frustrating.

“I was doing well and then got a little knock again but I’m back now and hopefully I can carry on doing what I’m doing.”

The weekend strike at Forest Green is a goal plenty of fans are talking about but few have actually seen, such was the density of the fog at the New Lawn.

It was the subject of a joke of the EFL’s highlights programme on Quest but Dearnley insists it was a fine strike.

“Ian’s (Lawlor) kicked it, it’s come off the defender, I’ve picked it up and taken two players on and just hit it bottom-left with my left foot,” he said.

“It’s a good goal to be fair, it’s just a shame no-one could see it!

“I’m a bit gutted it won’t count but I’ve just got to do it again in the next few games and get some more goals.”

Every effort was made to play the game in Gloucestershire before it was ultimately halted 58 minutes in with the score locked at 1-1.

“It was horrible on Saturday, even from the start and it nearly got called off,” Dearnley said.

“Both teams wanted to play so we carried on and it got really foggy about 40 minutes in.

“For the players on the pitch it was okay but on the cameras you can’t see anything.

“It wasn’t too bad for us but when we came out for the second half it got even worse.

“Even on the pitch you couldn’t see anything and that’s why it got abandoned.”