Recent addition Michael Gash has taken Barnet boss Martin Allen by surprise, with the Bees head coach admitting the striker is better than he first thought after signing him as backup.

The former Kidderminster Harriers and Cambridge United goal-getter made his third substitute appearance since joining last month in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Woking at The Hive, with Allen lauding the impact of the 28-year-old.

Initially signed as cover for first-choice strike pairing John Akinde and Charlie MacDonald, Gash has proven his worth already.

Speaking after victory against the Cards, Allen enthused: “He is a better player than I thought, to be honest.

“I always thought he was half decent but in training the last couple of weeks he has lost a lot of weight and improved his level of fitness. He is a tremendous character around the group and he is a good player.

“He is pushing for a starting place and so are (Conor) Clifford and Dave Stephens, to be honest. So are Luke Gambin and (Sam) Muggleton and Mauro (Vilhete) was unlucky not to play.

"They are all good enough to play in our team so they are all pushing. It is never a formality who is going to play in our team – they are all going to get their chance towards the end of the season,” added Allen.

New loan signing Conor Clifford excelled from the bench for the Bees as a first-half replacement for Luisma Villa and was making his made his debut for Barnet after signing from Southend United late on transfer deadline day.

The 23-year-old Chelsea Academy graduate had not played since November but was lively and contributed defensively as well as going forward.

Reflecting on the Ireland Under-21 cap’s debut, Allen stated: “He is a good player but when Luisma got the yellow card I wanted to keep 11 players on the pitch and it was important to keep our discipline. I did not want any match-ups of sending-offs going against us.

“He did very well, Luisma, and I am very pleased with him but that is how we work it here.

“I could not really change a team that had just won 4-0 (against Southport). He (Clifford) is a good player but with (Sam) Togwell and (Curtis) Weston, they have just got us to the top of the league so it would be a mad man who would replace them or leave them out. Conor is here to add strength and cover.”

You can read Martin Allen’s view on the Woking victory by clicking here.