STANLEY hero Bobby Grant is hoping his wonder goal will earn him a contract next season.
Boss John Coleman is set to sit down and talk to players this week - although he knows he is working on a lesser budget - having already begun preliminary discussions about his own new deal at the club.
Every player except Paul Mullin and Sean McConville are out of contract with the season finishing at promotion-chasing Bury tomorrow.
After a difficult year, Grant, 18, admits he is unsure whether he will be offered a new deak - but hopes his winning goal against Chesterfield on Saturday was a timely reminder to the boss and the Reds’ fans of what he can do.
"It was what I needed," admitted the relieved Grant, who volleyed home a 25-yard thunderbolt. "I had to do something like that to prove I still had it in me.
"It is getting to the end of my deal and I have never been in this position before.
"I guess it is part and parcel of being a footballer but it is up in the air at the moment and I will just have to see. Hopefully that goal will do the trick."
Grant admitted he needed that first league goal to boost his own confidence after a year of lows.
The teenager was a rising star at Stanley after making his league debut at 16, but was hindered last season with a knee injury although he was hoping to play a full campaign this time around and make a huge impact.
But the knee injury resurfaced which led to an operation in August and he admitted, after he’d recovered, he has suffered with a loss of form.
He says it could be related to having a court case hanging over his head, after being charged with affray in the incident involving Steven Gerrard in Southport which comes to trial in July.
"It has been a hard season," admitted Grant. "I suffered with my knee injury but that has cleared up now and touch wood I haven’t had any after effects. And perhaps the court case played on my mind.
"I was lacking confidence and struggling to get in the team and I know in the games I did play, I didn’t do that well.
"So I knew I needed to do something when I had my chance - and thankfully I did. I needed to show I am good enough and I did have a point to prove.
"I have scored around four or five in the reserves but my first league goal has been a long time coming.
"And it was even nicer that it was the winner. I don’t want the season to end now though."
Grant admits he took a lot of pleasure in the stunning goal.
"It was a great ball by Cav (Peter Cavanagh) and it just bounced perfectly. I took a swing at it and knew I had hit it sweetly.
"When I saw it had gone in, I didn’t know what to do and I just ran away. It was weird as the Clayton End was empty but then I ran to where the fans were at the side and to John (Coleman) and Jimmy (Bell).
"Everyone was made up for me. It’s much better than a tap-in! I did try to claim a deflected one against Wrexham last season but I am glad I didn’t now as this one was much more special.
"I saw that Coley had said he knew I had it in my locker and it was nice that it happened."
And the wideman is keep to repeat it at Bury tomorrow in the final game of the season.
By a strange quirk the fixture planners have thrown up the Shakers game for the final day clash - the Reds faced Bury in the final game of last season in a match which is at the centre of the betting scandal involving Stanley's Peter Cavanagh and Robbie Williams.
Then there was nothing riding on the game but this time, a Bury win could see them in League One next season.
But not if Grant can help it as he looks to help Coleman and co surpass the 51 point target from last season - they are currently on 50 - and enjoy their best season ever in League Two.
"It should be a good game," said Grant. "There will be a big crowd, it is a local derby and they could get automatic promotion.
"We stopped Chesterfield getting into the play-offs and I wouldn't mind doing it to Bury too, that’s if I start. It would be nice to put one over on them."
Coleman has the same squad to pick from, with Leam Richardson back.