PORTLAND United interim boss Gary Bailey praised the patience of striker Tom Bearwish after the Blues’ forward recorded a hat-trick in a 6-1 demolition of Amesbury Town on Saturday.

Bearwish, 18, has had fragmented spells with Eastleigh and Dorchester Town this season, but has held down a starting berth at the Weyline Stadium since the beginning of Bailey’s three-game tenure.

And the Portland manager believes both player and club are benefitting from Bearwish’s extended run of games.

He told Echosport: “Tom is a good lad. He’s not been messed around, but he’s had to be patient.

“It didn’t work out at Dorchester but he’s just benefitted from a run of games and he’s getting his match fitness.

“He’s got a great attitude and he does all the right things, he’s a hard-working lad. Hopefully he can stay in form and get a run of games with us to the end of the season.”

Meanwhile, Bailey also lauded the return to the starting line-up of influential defender Lewis Whyton against Amesbury, who had been sidelined with injury.

He said: “You want your best players around you. He’s a big player at the club. A fully-fit Lewis is good to have around and starting would have done him the world of good.

“He got 90 minutes under his belt, but he’s a little bit away from being the finished article.

He’ll go from strength to strength and he’s great to have back in the squad.”