The Starbeck club got back to winning ways following consecutive NCEL Division One losses when they beat Ollerton Town 3-1 at the weekend, Jimmy Gore emerging from the substitutes’ bench to net a decisive late double.
The former Leeds United academy winger only signed for the club a couple of days earlier, following Rail old boy Marcus Day – a striker –into Station View during what was a productive week for the club off the field.
And with experienced attacking midfielder Fatlum Ibrahimi also having returned for another spell, O’Connell suddenly has a much wider range of talen at his disposal at the top end of the pitch.
The impact of Gore, who arrives from Northern Premier League Division One outfit Tadcaster Albion was instantaneous, though Day also played a big part in Saturday’s success, providing the assist for Jacob Robertson’s first-half opener with a nicely-weighted through-ball.
“I’m a lot more content with the options we’ve got now, Saturday’s game proved how important it is to have strength in depth at this level of football,” O’Connell said.
“To be honest, we were poor against Ollerton. We didn’t play well in the first half. But we had quality on the bench and were able to bring on a player who helped win us the game.
“I haven’t had that this season. We’ve had so many players missing with injuries and everything else that I’ve rarely had a strong bench and it is massive for a manager.
“Jimmy is a very talented player and he’s come onto the pitch and scored two really good goals, which have proved to be the difference. With him, Marcus and Fatlum now at the club, we look a lot healthier in the final third.”
While he isn’t necessarily expecting Gore to net two goals in every match going forwards, O’Connell is certain that the 18-year-old is only going to get better and better.
"Jimmy first came to us in May and we liked the look of him then but he ended up playing for Tadcaster Albion in pre-season and scoring a few goals for them," the Rail chief added.
"So, he ended up signing there but then suffered a freak injury and hasn't been able to play. He came back and spoke to us last week because he needs minutes, he needs to be playing men's football.
“We're pleased to get him back, however we only had him penciled in for 20 minutes because obviously he’s not been playing and he needs to build himself up gradually.
“But a couple of injuries forced our hand before half-time and obviously he’s done brilliantly. There’s a lot more to come, however, he’s not fully fit yet, so I expect him to just keep on improving.
"We hope he will be with us for the foreseeable future."