FORMER York City striker Paul Baker believes man-of-the-moment Richard Brodie could one day see “his name in lights.”

Newcastle Benfield Bay Plastics boss Baker – a former Southampton team-mate of current City manager Martin Foyle – first spotted Brodie’s potential two-and-a-half years ago when he moved quickly to sign the Gateshead-born forward from Northern League neighbours Whickham.

Six months later, Brodie moved to KitKat Crescent having impressed for Benfield in a fourth qualifying round FA Cup tie against the Minstermen.

He went on to score on his debut at the age of 19 in a 4-0 win at Altrincham and his brace during Tuesday night’s 2-0 FA Trophy victory took his City tally to 22 – one more than Baker managed for the Minstermen during a 15-month spell after signing from Gillingham in 1994.

This season, though, has seen Brodie blossom into a regular Blue Square Premier marksman, having netted 11 times, including four during a one-month loan spell with Barrow.

And former mentor Baker, back in York this week as coach of East Durham for an English Colleges FA Cup tie, believes Brodie boasts star potential.

He said: “Richard has a fantastic raw talent, which is there to be worked, and he wants to achieve because he lives and breathes football.

“He’s still learning the game, but he’s strong and good in the air as well as on the floor. He needs to work on his positional sense but that will come because he will be first on the training ground and last off it.

“He hadn’t played anything other than the second division of the Northern League before we sold him to York so it was a massive step but Richard’s already been on the phone to me, saying that Martin Foyle has been teaching him so much that he didn’t know before.

“In my opinion, this time next year, or maybe a bit longer, his name could be up in lights.”

Recalling his first encounter with City’s leading marksman, Baker added: “He came to our attention when we were playing Whickham and my big centre-half came off at half-time saying ‘their young striker’s doing my nut in’.

He complained that Richard was looking after himself with his elbows and taking all the kicks and punches he could throw at him.

“We signed him after that and soon had interest from a lot of higher league clubs in the Newcastle area.”