BRIDPORT winger Leighton Thomas has received strong plaudits from boss Adam Fricker after a sensational run of form.

Thomas, 19, has developed quickly this campaign after a number of trials at the beginning of the 2017/18 season with Southern League clubs, including Dorchester Town.

After missing out with the Magpies, the Cayman Islands midfielder elected to join the Bees where he netted 13 goals in 50 appearances.

Confirming his sparkling form with five goals in five games, Thomas has already torn up last year’s formbook with 15 goals in 22 appearances and has four more strikes than veteran forward Mark Salter.

Speaking to the Bridport News, Fricker revealed a change in positioning within the Bees’ formation had been key to Thomas’ progress.

“We’ve pushed him a little bit further forward and given him a little bit more licence to express himself,” he said.

“He’s got five in (five) and always looks a threat. He’s really developed as a footballer and over the past two seasons we’ve had him we’ve definitely seen him improve week in, week out.

“I think Leighton’s one of those where if he’s enjoying his football he’s going to play well and he seems to be enjoying himself at the moment. It’s a major plus and a big player for us.”

Fricker believes one of the more impressive attributes of Thomas’ skillset is his all-round ability.

He said: “For a young lad he’s got the ability.

“All-round he’s got a lot to his game. He’s got strength, physicality, he’s great with the ball at his feet and likewise he’s great in the air as well.

“We’re just trying to free him up a little bit more to take away the defensive work if we can. In the final third he is a major threat.”

Regularly going away on international duty with his country has also benefitted Thomas, according to Fricker.

“I think it gives you that confidence to be playing with better players,” he said.

“It did take him a couple of weeks when he got back to get over a little bit of jetlag. I think he’s probably still not 100 per cent match fit yet.

“He missed all of pre-season for us as well to go back to the Cayman Islands. In the second half of the season I believe Leighton is only going to get stronger, which for us is a major plus.”