NATHAN Arnold has been backed to give Altrincham the X factor this coming season after showing glimpses of his match-winning flair in their last two friendlies against Blackpool and Stockport County.

The former Lincoln City forward, snapped up by manager Phil Parkinson earlier this summer, hit the post with an opportunistic 20-yard snapshot in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Blackpool and set up Alty’s goal in Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat to County with some eye-catching footwork.

As he prepared for his side’s final two pre-season games, against AFC Fylde at home this Saturday and away to Trafford next Tuesday,

“I brought Nathan here to give us that bit of X factor,” said the Robins boss.

“People are used to seeing players who can run past defenders or dribble round them, but with Nathan, I have recruited someone who will give us end product.

“He might not always be easy on the eye, but when he shines, he shines brightly.

“He will create chances and stick them away, and you can see him growing into the environment here with each game.

“He might not do much for a while, but then he will produce something out of the blue, like the shot against the post and his part in our goal tonight.

“That is what he will give us.”

Another recent signing, centre-back Toby Mullarkey, also impressed and appears to face a straight fight with James Jones for a starting place alongside Tom Hannigan for the league opener against York City a week on Saturday.

“He looked the part, bringing the ball out from the back, and he also looked very assured defensively,” added Parkinson.

“’I think everyone can see he and James will be slogging it out, because Tom looks pretty much nailed-on at the moment, though that could change in the next couple of games.

“You never know, but it does look a case of who can be the more consistent out of those two. Three at the back could be an option as well, because they are all so mobile. We’ll see.”