STEVE Lomas says he has challenged midfielder Liam Trotter to score ten goals this season now that his injury problems are behind him.
Trotter underwent surgery in the summer to correct an underlying knee problem but has been ever-present in the Lions side since his return to action against Brighton in August.
The 25-year-old, who will be offered a new contract by the club in the lead up to Christmas, set up Scott McDonald's goal in the 2-2 draw with QPR on Saturday.
Trotter was substituted in the second half after landing awkwardly but Lomas is hopeful the former Ipswich trainee has not suffered any serious damage.
He said: "Liam jarred his knee but I don't think it will be a problem – fingers crossed that that won't be an issue. He set up one goal and could quite easily have got a couple himself.
"If he keeps believing and getting into dangerous areas, he'll score goals and I think he is a ten-a-season midfielder. I've set him that target.
"He cannot get disappointed when he misses chances either. All credit to him because in the first half he missed one but got in the box again and was unlucky with another header. I am delighted that Liam is back – he's a big player for us."
When asked whether Trotter is sometimes undervalued by supporters, Lomas added: "Yeah, maybe. He is such a big lad and sometimes it doesn't look like he's covering the ground, but I can assure you he is.
"There is a really good player in there. He's finally getting his fitness levels up having missed a lot of pre-season, which is never easy. Injured players who miss pre-season come back and initially do really well in their first two or three games but then they plateau a little bit.
"We're hoping that Liam kicks on again and shows everybody that he is a very fine player."
Meanwhile, Lomas confirmed that Lee Martin and Richard Chaplow missed the QPR game through injury.
He said: "We thought everybody was back and then unfortunately on Friday we lost Lee and Richard, which was a bit of a blow because your substitutes' bench is so critical – as we saw with Jermaine Easter scoring the equaliser.
"You need players with quality to come on and get you points. But they are not serious injuries – just niggles. When players come back and break down it's very disappointing."