It is only two years ago that Marcus Harness was trying to help stop Port Vale slipping into the National League.
Now he is trying to help Portsmouth win promotion to the Championship, with a play-off semi-final looming against Oxford United if a points per game system is voted through in the next few days.
He had joined from Burton Albion for what as described as a substantial but undisclosed fee last summer and has been a key man under Kenny Jackett.
The 24-year-old has scored eight times and chipped in with seven assists and Jackett is sure the best is yet to come.
“There is more to come from Marcus,” said the manager to The News. “He’s a goalscorer and has got eight goals this season.
“Quite a few times, he’s come on and changed the game for us at a time when maybe we were ahead but we’ve been labouring.
“Marcus has been very effective in that role. Sometimes when you look at someone’s number of starts, it doesn’t paint the whole picture.
“He is a really good player, Marcus Harness. I think he has got a very, very good future ahead of him and his best years to come now.
“I’m pleased he is a Pompey player. In terms of his delivery, crossing and shooting, it’s excellent. He has eight goals and want to be a regular starter all of the time, but off the bench he has won us points.”
Harness made 42 appearances for Vale after being brought in by Michael Brown in the summer of 2017.
He only scored twice and was at times critical about his own contribution – and spoke about the responsibility players had to keep the club in the Football League.
That saw Brown’s replacement Neil Aspin praise his attitude.
Aspin said: “Too many times, players don’t admit their responsibility or look at themselves but Marcus is one to do that. I am sure, with an attitude like that, he can improve.
“Certainly, since I have been here, he has had some very good games, and, as he said, some games where he could have possibly done better.
“But he is definitely going to figure in the remaining games and it is an opportunity for him to show what he can do.”